If you’re like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, you would love more referrals. After all, referrals are a big part of your marketing strategy, right? But do you find yourself reluctant to ask for referrals – either because it makes you pushy or needy, or because you aren’t quite sure of what to say? It doesn’t need to be this way!
Getting good referrals from your business and personal networks can happen, if you do a better job of asking for them! When you’re part of a business networking group, giving leads and referrals is part of the program. But too often, people will give you the name of someone who may or may not need your services. Having just a name and a phone number really isn’t a referral … it’s more of a general lead. In a business group, you need a self-introduction that clearly communicates who you help and how you help them.
The keys to asking for and receiving quality referrals?
- Knowing who your ideal client is, and being able to describe him / her
- Conveying how you help your ideal client
- Sharing why you enjoy this type of client and/or project
Once you’ve received referrals from business contacts, ask your contacts to warm up your prospects for you. That way, when you do call, it will be a warm lead, not a cold sales call.
In a social setting, you’ll need a slightly different approach. What’s wonderful is the opportunity presents itself all the time. How so? What’s the number one question people ask you?
“How are you?”
Just about everyone answers this question the same way: “I’m fine” or “I’m great.” Resist the temptation to travel down that dead-end street! Next time, use this as an opportunity to talk about your business using the keys above, and then ask for a referral.
Here’s something an interior designer might say:
“I’m great. I’m working with a client who decided to renovate her home rather than move. I’m helping her plan the space to make the most of the existing footprint. We’re moving walls, doors and windows to create the home office she’s always wanted. I really like this type of project because I know with my help, she’s going to get a great return on her investment when she eventually does sell her home.
Do you know anyone thinking about renovating rather than move? If you do, send them my way. I’ll be happy to talk with them to see if it makes more sense to remodel rather than look for something new.”
Need another example? Here’s something a decorator specializing in color consultations could say:
“I’m great! I just introduced a package where I’m offering color consultations online. I can work with people around the world because we handle everything by phone and email! It’s an easy way to get started working with a designer or decorator. My clients love it! I like being able to help them make what’s so often a difficult decision when they just want to make quick and inexpensive changes in their living space. It makes me feel like I’m really solving a big problem for them.
Do you know anyone interested in updating their space with color? Send them my way and be sure to tell them to let them know you referred them.”
You can also use this approach, with a few tweaks, in direct written communications with your contacts. Why not give it a try? Referrals are a great way to attract your ideal clients. Practice asking for them the right way, and you’ll be sure to see results!