Ian Brodie writes a blog on sales strategy and business growth. He is showcased today in Selling Relationships because he wrote on the topic near and dear to many of us – gaining referrals from those who know us, and Ian’s spin is on having a system in place to make this happen.
“Referrals from colleagues” and “referrals from other service providers” were identified as the #1 and #2 method used by buyers of professional services to identify and learn more about providers in the 2009 RainToday.com Benchmarking study, How Clients Buy.
Many people are reluctant to ask for a referral – even if they have done a stellar job. They just don’t know when the right time to ask is, and they usually DON’T have a system in place to make it a part of the process of doing business with a client. Sometimes, too, people are concerned that they could get a “no” to this request.
When is the right time to ask for a referral? Some people will say to ask once the client has experienced some of your great service. I suggest a more radical approach – in advance of your service.
If you actually tell the prospective client that one of your goals is that he/she is so pleased with your services that they are happy to recommend you to others – then you have set the bar HIGH, correct? Some folks don’t want to do this, because they know they can’t deliver above-expected service…. I say “go all out or go home” – set the bar high and then when you have delivered some or all of your service, they will often ask you when you are going to ask them for a referral. It is amazing how it works.
Ian talks about having a system in place so that you don’t have to re-invent your process of doing business over and over again.
While working with some clients last week, we went around the table and I asked who was comfortable asking for referrals – not one hand went up. Clearly we have some work to do – assuming that you do provide great products and services – why not have 100 referrals from those 100 clients, or 1000 from your 1000 clients. This will be an ongoing topic.
Thanks, Ian – for bringing it up – and being our Monday Selling Relationships Hero.Read more of Ian’s ideas.