Do you want more referrals?
I recently attended a networking group where putting forward referrals is not something that is forced upon members. What I found interesting was that, when it came to the 1-2-1 sessions, people were not forthright in telling me what type of referrals they wanted, in fact many a time I have found people almost embarrassed about asking. I always ask “What type of contacts or referrals would suit your business?” as it’s always my aim to support others.
So what’s stopping you from getting more referrals? Is it that you feel awkward about it or feel it’s wrong to ask? Someone told me that if someone has a referral they’d pass it on, however, on the other hand some people have held back from sending referrals when they believe someone is too busy to take on more work!
Start with your clients
How often to you run a client review session. Many have told me they don’t conduct one as they have been told by their client that they are more than happy with their VA services. But that is not the point of a client review. From the start of taking the client on board you are on a mission to add value to your client’s business and by conducting a client review means that you are ensuring that your services are helping your clients to keep on track with their important goals.
Imagine now that you are helping your clients in such a way that they are now able to focus on the key activities they must focus on in order to start achieving their monthly and quarterly goals. Imagine the scenario that with your support they have surpassed what their expectations were and much of that is down to you taking away the burden from the running of their business.
Just from the fact that you have been offering great customer service, conducting great client reviews to ensure that they are on track and great ongoing client management…they are going to be a happy client, aren’t they.
Therefore, when it comes to a client review and you have outlined the areas you have supported them on, this would be a great time to ask for a referral. And if you have sustained a great relationship, of course they will want to support you.
Asking your clients for a referral is the most cost-effective marketing you can do. Let your clients do the talking.
Do you want more referrals? Then you must get over your feelings of awkwardness and get into the habit of asking for a referral from any of your satisfied clients.
How to Ask for Referrals
- Remember that most people like to help other people (if there is no negative cost to them).
- Remind yourself that the worst that can happen is that the client says, “No”. We can handle that!
- Make asking for a referral part of your routine. With most work you do, there’s a last encounter with the client, a perfect time to ask for a referral.
What to say when asking for a referral?
Be sincere and direct and you can say something along the lines of…
“I’m really glad that you’re pleased with the support I have provided you. Who can you think of now that you would be interest in (what you do), I would very much appreciate if you could pass on my details. Would you need some more of my business cards?
Ensuring they have some of your business cards makes it easier for them to pass your name and contact details on to someone else.
Another variation on this script is to be even more direct and ask for names when you’re asking for referrals. For instance, you might say:
“I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my services. I have capacity for additional business of around 10 hours per week and wonder who you know who would be interested in speaking to me about how I can support them also.”
Pause and see what they say. Some people will offer some names. Some will say, “Yes, maybe,” and not offer any further information. Some will say, “No”, but at least you tried.
If they do offer names, take them down and ask the person if they mind if you contact the people directly or if they would prefer to pass your information along to them yourself.
Tips for Asking for Referrals
- Referrals ideally should be asked for face-to-face. It’s more effective. People will always be more likely to do something for someone else if the person is standing right in front of them. It is acceptable to ask for referrals by email or phone if you work on a more virtual basis.
- Avoid asking for a referral when issuing an invoice!
- When asking for a referral you can also ask for an endorsement or testimonial and offer to promote their business alongside the testimonial with their website links or contact information. Give them time to put this together or you could do this and then pass it to them for approval to help save them time.
The More You Ask The More You’ll Get
Make the effort to get into the behavioural habit of asking for referrals and then you will start to notice a positive impact on your business with less cost to you for marketing! As a little touch, why not have a branded thank you card from your company so that you can send this, hand written, to your client when a referral is made, even if that person doesn’t become a client, it is the act of kindness and thoughtfulness that your client made for you.
If you liked this article please tweet about it and also let me know your comments…what’s been the most effective way of getting referrals for your business?
Sign up to our webinar on how to conduct a great client review for Tuesday 13th December!