“Where do you get most of your clients?” I ask.
“From referrals” says my client very confidently.
“So, how do you ask for referrals?” I inquire.
“Oh I don’t ask.” Says my client.
Me, silent for a second or two while I process. And then finally, “What?”
“We don’t ask. I mean to but I never quite get around to it. We even used to have a process for it but, well…not anymore.”
“OK, let me make sure I understand this: So you get most of your clients from referrals. They are the most profitable relationships and have the highest close ratio… but you don’t ask for them?”
“Yup. Really crazy right?”
“But, you think you ought to be asking right?”
“But you don’t?”
Seriously. This form of crazy is costing companies like yours big percentages in growth and I just can’t keep quiet any longer. I’m on a crusade! I’m becoming the ShamWow! guy for people to ask for referrals. It’s simply time for you to address this no-cost game changer. If you have a referral program and follow it, you get a pass from today’s blog. The rest of you are mine.
Here is a legitimate process to increase the number of referrals you receive and you can work on it immediately. Consider it my gift to you for 2016:
First is your mindset: Consider that your clients likely don’t know you need referrals – if you don’t ask they’ll never know.
- You may have a great referral request question you’ve been taught. If not, the one I like to use puts emphasis into the service of others and not self-service and it’s simple: “Who do you know that needs our help?”
- Build a referral talk into your client meeting agenda – literally put it into your agenda so you won’t “forget” to ask.
- Create a target client profile and share it with clients. Include attitudes and desires, fears and goals of this target profile just as much as their demographic information.
- Meet with your top 20 clients one-on-one. Buy them a coffee and tell them you promised your team you’d ask for referrals…and that you need their help.
- Send a drip email campaign to your client base – every 4th email close with the request for an invitation to someone that needs the help.
- Go to LinkedIn and hunt for Right-Fit prospects in your clients’ connections. When you find someone, ask them for the introduction.
- Ask 20 of your top clients to sign a single letter endorsing you. Ask each of them to send it to 10 of their top relationships (yes, that’s 200 people). If they happen to know some of the same prospects all the better!
- Have someone else on your team ask for Maybe hire a part-time “client concierge” whose sole responsibility is to ask each one of your top 100 clients every year for an introduction.
- If someone wants to introduce you, make them introduce you via email by COPYING you on the email to the prospect. Then a. You’re in control and b. You get to see how your client pitches you.
What is left to say here? You get it. Referrals are the Captain Crunch of business growth. Now just do it, delegate it, or pay to have it done. Just attack it.
Oh, and before you go…Please share this blog or our website link with someone that you know who would benefit from knowing us! :)