Thursday, May 05, 2011

 

Two quick ways to increase referrals

Most people don't ask for referrals often enough. Some ask way too often.

The trick to getting more referrals isn't frequency. It's knowing when and how to ask.

Ask at the right time
If you ask for a referral all the time - at the bottom of your emails, on your letterhead, in your voicemail message - it's going to get annoying fast. But if you ask when I'm most likely to refer you, when I'm most happy with what you've done for me, your chances of getting the referral go up significantly.

Let's say your customer service team just went the extra mile to fix a gnarly customer issue. Or your front-line staff stayed late to help a customer meet a deadline. Or you researched and provided a client information that saved them tons of time preparing for an upcoming presentation. You've tipped the balance in your favor. Giving a referral will be the least your customer can do as a thank you.

Ask for referrals when your customer is ready and willing.

Ask with specifics
What if you did a little more homework and figured out exactly who you wanted an introduction to? Instead of asking for a general, open referral, check your customer's social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and identify the 1-2 people you specifically want to meet.

You're far more likely to get the referral if you don't make your customer think. If they like you and are willing to vouch for you, eliminate the need for them to identify the targets. It'll make the referral faster and easier.


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