Friday, November 26, 2010

Ask For Referrals….All The Time

7 Ways to turn on the power of referrals

Every business should be asking for referrals from their satisfied customers and every business owner knows it!

So why do so many businesses underperform when asking for referrals? It’s like sales, not everyone is comfortable doing it. Yet the formula for transforming your business into a “referral generating machine” is within your grasp. Just implement these 7 tips and you’ll grow your referral business by leaps and bounds.

#1. Make Sure You Ask in the First Place

Don’t assume people will tell others about you, be proactive. This is the same principal as closing a sale, if you don’t ask for the business; most customers aren’t going to buy. Once you have the right scripts, customized letters and emails, and practice this will become second nature.

#2 Have the Right Attitude: Ask Everyone

Start with the attitude that everyone is a source of referral business. It is said that each of us has a network of at least 200 people. Your goal should be to get just 1 of those people to start. If you generate a new client and do a good job, the person who referred you will continue to refer others.

#3 Understand the Numbers

Referrals can grow exponentially once you get the ball rolling. If you take just 10 clients who refer just 2 people that’s 20 new leads. If those 20 refer just 2 people, you’ll have 40 new leads and so on. Run the numbers with your own assumptions. The numbers should astound you and excite you into taking action. This is why some successful people like realtors who are good at this never have to go hunting for a new client. The new clients are always coming to them through successful referrals practices.

#4 Don’t Forget to Ask Those That Don’t Buy From You

Just because someone bought from a competitor or doesn’t need your service doesn’t mean you shouldn't ask for a referral. It is almost a certainty that they have someone in their network that needs your product or service, so ask them too.

#5 Offer an Incentive to Refer

We offer discounts, 2 for 1’s, and free products and services for everything else, why not for referrals. How about a discount on their next purchase or a free add-on product on their next sale. A cash rebate when the referral buys always works. Be creative and remember it costs 5 times as much to generate a new client the traditional way as it does to get one through a referral. You can afford to be a little generous here, especially if your business has repeat clientele like a hair salon.

#6 Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Your Request

If you do this diplomatically and explain why you’re asking, people will not be offended by a repeated request for referrals. Explain how important they are to the growth of your business. Engage people and don’t be afraid to use the word “help” to get them to participate. Most customers who patronize a business that treats them well wants them to succeed, so that they’ll be around to continue to service “them.”

#7 Practice Until You Get it Right!

Like all things that are new and uncomfortable, you have to practice, correct mistakes, and do it for a while until you get comfortable and it becomes second nature. The results however, are MORE than worth it.

There you have it. Now don’t wait, take your first prospect or customer today and ask them for the names of a couple of other people they are associate with who you could help.

To your success!

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