This week’s blog is talking about the process of referrals and showing you how to develop your own strategy for success.
Business referrals are a powerful way of attracting sources of revenue for your Business it’s based on trust, not marketing or sales. At Maverick Mentoring For Business, referrals are a big part of our growth strategy. It is important to have a process for identifying them and also for rewarding people who recommend clients to the Business.
One of the holy grails of networking is the unsolicited referrals by people you’ve met to your business. When that happens, you are most of the way to closing the deal, someone likes and trusts your service enough to recommend you, that carries a lot of weight in the mind of the prospective client.
Generally there are two types of referral:
- Unsolicited recommendations by someone who knows you or has used your services; and
- Recommendations that come from key contacts with whom you have an understanding to refer to each other’s business for mutual benefit, which may, or may not involve a commission or finder’s fee.
With the first, it’s just like a friend recommending a bar or hairdresser, you trust their judgement and will give it a try over a Google search. In the same way bad word of mouth will work against a business, you want to be sure there are those out there who love what you do and spread the word without asking.
Whenever you find this happening, always thank and reward them in some way, never take this for granted.
A common networking mistake is to meet someone, assume they are not your ideal clients and not cultivate the relationship or give them the same level of engagement. You don’t know whom they know, and they’re situation may change and they may be a decision maker in the future. Dismiss them now and you’ve burnt potentially lots of future opportunities.
There is also nothing wrong with asking select people who you feel comfortable representing you informally to spread the word for you, perhaps for a special opportunity or news.
So when you’re at a function, a simple ‘by the way, I’ve a new workshop coming up on social media, so if you know anyone you may be interested please let them know’, could go a long way. Or you make the event or offer into your key messages in your conversation so that people you talk to know it’s coming up, rather than just how busy you’ve been.
In the second referral instance, you’ve come to an overt understanding with another company to recommend each other. This is most common in complimentary professions, a graphic designer with a web designer, or a photographer with a modelling agency.
Or sometimes the client isn’t a right fit and you can recommend someone else who does the same work as you, but on a different scale. The trick here is to ensure it’s a two-way street, and you’re not being taken for granted, and if there is a commission arrangement (such as s finder’s fee) this needs to state.
When you’re referring someone, remember you’re aligning your brand value with his or her brand value. So if I was to recommend a café and it was a terrible experience, my friend would think twice in asking me for dining suggestions again!
Likewise, if there is a kick back in place, or they are member’s of your networking circle; and you are only recommending them for that reason, then that’s something the person should know too. It’s both ethical and gives them a true context for the referral.
HOW TO INVITE YOUR BUSINESS COLLEAGUES TO SEE US
First tell your Business Acquaintance about your experiences with you. Be as detailed as you can. In this way they will be in a better position to judge whether you provide the type of Business Coaching and Training they would like.
Here is an example of how you could commence the conversation with you your client’s
“The purpose for me contacting you is to create an opportunity for you and I to be able to refer people to each other and work in a co-operative manner that builds trust for our clients and in so doing builds our client base.
Like all business people, I have to have enough work to do. You see, my aim is to Business Coach my clients to the point where they don’t need me anymore. That’s why it is important for me to always have new people to work with.
With a steady stream of high quality clients, my business will be both profitable and enjoyable. Profit and enjoyment allow me to continue to provide the level of service that you have come to expect from me.”
If, after hearing about you; the Business Acquaintance wants to come to see you, and then you could arrange it in one of two ways:
- Ask them to phone you. It would be nice if you could call to alert me to expect the call, so that we can greet your friend properly.
- Or you could ask your Business Acquaintance if he or she would like you to phone them. Just phone and let you know the best time to reach you, and you will be happy to call.
Either way, you should be delighted to hear from your referral.
WILL YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR BUSINESS ACQUAINTANCE?
It is important to consider when referring business to an acquaintance that they are happy with the service, otherwise it reflects badly on you. Recognize that you have to please them so that you can feel good about having sent them—do not take this responsibility lightly.
THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO
This is all about a reciprocal arrangement where we both work together to build our Business and trust in the Market Place. Send me all that you need me to have so I can refer people correctly into your business, i.e. Brochures, Links, blurbs etc. whatever you know I will need to understand clearly what you do and the benefit you bring for your clients.
REWARDS; HOW DO WE SAY THANK YOU!
Building our Businesses and circles of influence is something I take very seriously. Because of this I want to ensure that whenever we work together the effort is recognised and acknowledged. As my way of saying thank you I would like to offer you a gift for every successful referral. So as not presume to know what is best for you, I have a few ideas to consider:
- Gold Class movie tickets
- Dinner for two
- Extended Business Coaching time
- Or maybe you have an idea of something different as well, let me know.
Now with all this, you are able to build your business and grow your client list.