Referrals, Joe Girard, SalesReferrals are the lifeblood of business today, but what I find interesting is that most businesses don’t have an active process to drive referrals.  Often, they wing it and hope people just naturally refer customers to them.  Today will be brief, but go out and apply these tips this week and start generating more referrals.

With all the noise in the marketing world today, referrals are probably the best source of new leads.  But you gotta ask!  Think about the last time you were going to go for dinner, buy a car, or find a mechanic.  Was asking people for recommendations the first thing you did?  Did you read reviews from strangers online and form your opinion of that business?  It’s much easier to buy from a business that someone else trusts.  Make sure you get your social proof game dialed in.   Testimonials, discussions of Facebook, and referrals are all sources of social proof.  Other people saying they trust you.

 Here are the Eight Tips to Get More Referrals Today

1) Put it in Your Signature Line

This one is a simple tip.  In all your communications, have something in your signature line that shows others you always appreciate referrals.  Perhaps include a link to a contact form on your website that you can track new leads on?

2) Make it Super Simple for People to Refer You

Believe it or not, people want to give you referrals.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.  Take ALL the work out of their hands.  And also, take the pressure of them from having to sell and keep the control of your brand message in YOUR hands.  One of the best pieces of advice I can give you if you are looking for a reference for a job, a testimonial for your website, or a referral for your business is to WRITE IT YOURSELF.

Yah that’s right.  Any time I have been asked to give a reference for someone, it is so much easier if they type it out and send it to me so I can edit it and sign it.  If someone has to do all the writing themselves, two things happen:

  1. They may not get to it in time or prioritize it
  2. They may not include all the best  info the other person wants

This is the same for testimonials on your site and referrals.  Take all the guess work out of it, make it easy, and put the content that you want in it.  Hit on the key points, especially if you are targeting a specific segment.  Create a pre-made email template that you can send people when they say they may know someone to refer to you.  You say, “Great! I will send you an email that you can forward to them.”

Something like, “Hi ____, I want to introduce you to Joe Girard.  I am cc’ing him on this email.  He is doing some amazing work right now with his clients, helping them grow their business with some powerful sales and marketing strategies and is a blast to work with.  We were talking and I mentioned that you may be someone that could use his services and I think you two would really hit it off.  Anyways, glad to make the introduction!  Talk soon.”

Something as simple as that can help you out immensely.  Make your email script today.  You can also pre-make Facebook posts that you can ask your best customers to share for you.  Think about all the ways you can make it easy for people to refer you.

3) Be Crystal Clear on WHO You Are Looking For as  a Customer

Often, when I ask business owners what kinds of customers they are looking for, they tell me, “Well anyone could use my service.” Awesome, now I will just talk to anyone, c’mon!  Help me out.  If you want people to send you business, be as specific as you can, know who your target market is, what segments they are in, and how you would like to be introduced.  Effective communication is the key.

There is some psychology here as well.  You need to essentially prime people to keep you top of mind and be on the lookout to help you find customers.  The MORE specific you can be, the easier it will be for them to spot the referrals for you.  And they will think, “Oh, you know who you should talk to is…”  Now go out and tell people who your ideal customers are.

5) Give Other People Referrals

This one is by far, the BEST way to drive referrals!  Always be in a giver mentality and help those around you.  And you can even be strategic if you like.   Where are your potential customers likely to hang out in person or online? Participate and get involved in that community and be an active contributor.  Help others grow their business and when they ask how they can help you, just tell them you what kind of customers are right for your business.

6) Call Them “Introductions” Instead of Referrals

The word “Referral” carries with it an implied meaning of expectations for someone becoming a customer.  When you ask for an introduction instead, there is no expectation of a sale.  You are merely asking, “Who do you know that you could introduce me to?” Combine that with step 4 above and you have something like;

“I would love it if you could think of anyone who is doing some cool things with their business, is fun to work with, and has the potential to really grow with the right help.  Someone you think I would connect with.  Typically I am looking for those small to medium sized businesses with less than $1 Million in revenue  and about 5-20 employees.  I LOVE helping them break through to the next level.  If you know anyone like that, I would love an introduction.  Oh you do?  Well I will send you an email you can forward to them!”

[Tweet “Ask for an “Introduction” instead of a “referral””]

7) Be Someone Others Actually WANT to Give Referrals to

This may sound simple, but if you are not excited about your business, why would others get excited?  If you don’t deliver MASSIVE amounts of service, create raving fans, and basically over-deliver, why would others trust you with their friends and family?  Get psyched up about what you do and get others pumped to introduce you to their contacts.

8) Test and Track Everything

The mark of a true professional is the ability to test their ideas and measure their effectiveness.  This is the only way to get better. So whatever tools you use to drive referrals or generate leads, make sure you are tracking them in some way.  Use an Excel spreadsheet and enter all the various sources.  Test to see which ones get you the most referrals. Try different variations of your referral scripts too.  Over the course of the next month, see which ones are working and which ones aren’t.

Have some fun experimenting and just get out there and start asking for referrals!  If you have some tips as well, post them in the comments below.  I will be writing more on referrals over the coming weeks, such as how to reward those that give you referrals. Make sure you subscribe to stay up to date:

Joe Girard
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