To Get Referrals, Stop Asking for Them! (Part 2)

people_meetingPreviously, we discussed how the proper way to get referrals is to NOT ask for them–at least not do it blindly. Rather, you must engage your client in conversation. As your client opens up, he/she will tell you about the other people in their life. As you listen and engage, and make note of the people mentioned, you can have a list of potentially half a dozen or more potential new referrals!

So what do you do when you have such a list on hand? That’s what this second part is all about.

The first rule to get referrals–or better yet, an introduction: The best person to introduce you to a prospective client is he or she who has personally benefited from, and more importantly, values the service you provide.

Read that statement above again to help it sink in. So let’s proceed where we left off before. You have a client whom you have helped. You also have a list of about half dozen names (some first names only, and that’s fine) that your client has mentioned over the past several weeks.

Step 1: Engage your client and have them affirm the value you have delivered, and gauge their level of loyalty. This is a most crucial first step. Ask them: “Charlie, are you pleased with the results I have helped you create over these past few weeks?”

Use this opportunity not just to tell you about what they did like, but inquire about any concerns they had while you are on the topic. If you did your job right, they will be most pleased, and reply with something like: “I am very pleased and I appreciate your help!”

Step 2: Remind them that your ability to continue providing such service and value rests with your capacity to grow your business, and be able to provide the same great service for others.

“Great!” You reply. “That means a lot to me. I hope you also understand that it’s important for me to continue reaching out to others so I can continue to be here for you. Which makes me think about some of the people you have mentioned over these past few weeks. I remember you mentioning Sarah and the fact that she may be in a similar situation to your own in the next few weeks. I would really appreciate if you would introduce me to her.”

This leads us to Step 3: Where you ask for an introduction, by name if possible, with a friend/family member who has already come up in conversation.

“Oh yes,” your client replies. “That’s a great idea! Let me give her a call for you and see if you can set up a time to meet her.”

When possible, it is better for your client to do the introduction, which is better and stronger than a traditional referral. In a referral, you make the call. In an introduction, the client makes the call for you! So simple. So elegant. But it rests upon one thing: your capacity to build loyalty among your clients through outstanding service.

Think of it this way: have you ever been so enthused about a product or service, because of the value it delivered for you, that you actually wanted to share it with others? I know I have. That is where you want your clients to be. Period.

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