I read a lot about marketing and selling. A constant hot topic is referrals. But, too many things I read about how to get referrals are wrong. They´re either too complicated or they´re focused on getting something.
So, here is my simple (yet effective) system for getting all the referrals you can handle.
1. Do great work.
The best reason for someone to give you a referral is because you do great work. No matter what your business or job is, be great at it. Be the best you can possibly be, every day, every week, and every year.
The world responds well to greatness.
Do you work the best you can. Bring to it energy, enthusiasm, warmth and a spirit of helping others. Always look for ways to serve your customers better and then implement those ideas.
Be great at your job and people will notice. Then referrals will fall on you like rain.
2. Give a lot of referrals.
The next best way to get referrals is to give them. When you give to others, others will give to you in return.
But, be careful.
Don´t give referrals (or anything) to others only because you expect something in return. It doesn´t work that way. If you give with the purpose of getting back, the system falls apart.
Your purpose in giving referrals should be to genuinely help someone. When you give a referral, you´re playing a matchmaker role. You´re connecting two people whom you think should be connected.
And you only do this for a good reason:
Because you think they will both be better off if they know each other. You have a good reason to believe they can each help each other in some meaningful way.
The only good referral is one that you truly believe will benefit both people who are being connected.
Do this on a regular basis and the world will respond in a positive way. A big part of that will be referrals from other people.
3. Be a nice person.
I know this sounds a little silly. Of course, we all know we should be nice. But does that mean everyone is always nice to everyone they meet?
More importantly, think about how much you enjoy being around people who are not nice. Do you really want to do business with them? No. So, would you give them a referral? Again, no.
Being nice is part of being human. It´s human nature. Being nice creates positive energy which attracts people in a good way. It feels good.
But so many people have forgotten this that it no longer seems to be common sense. I think they even have classes on how to be nice! And, many people are only nice when they think they need to be. They´re "nice on demand" as long as they want something from another person. Once they´re need is gone, they no longer feel the need to be nice.
Think about whom you like spending time with. Who do you enjoy doing business with? Nice people are great to be around because you feel good when you´re with them.
4. Keep in touch.
My friend Mark LeBlanc helps a lot of professionals grow their practices. He has a wonderful system he calls the "Greatest Marketing Strategy in the World". And I agree with him, it is a great marketing strategy. It´s all about keeping in touch with people who are important to you. Mark says you should stay in touch with these people every 30 days.
So, the final step in our "world´s best system to get referrals" is to do what Mark says and keep in touch with people.
This is another one of those "should be common sense but isn´t" ideas. But it makes sense. Here´s why.
Think about a friend you had years ago whom you don´t see or talk to anymore.
Assuming there was no dramatic disagreement or problem, the reason you don´t have much contact anymore is because you drifted apart. Isn´t that how it goes?
We all get busy. We make changes. Life throws a million things at us every day. It´s easy to forget about people. It´s easy to let friendships fade away through lack of contact.
We´ve all had it happen.
Business relationships work the same.
If we stop having regular contact with someone, our relationship with them can fade away. It becomes less important and less a part of our life (and their life).
So, find ways to keep in touch with people. Here are seven easy ways:
Send an email
Send a letter or note
Stop by their business
Do business with them
Send a postcard
Send a holiday or birthday card
Do what Mark LeBlanc says. Stay in touch with them every 30 days and you´ll keep your relationship current and strong. You´ll stay on their radar and they´ll stay on yours. This makes it much more likely they´ll find opportunities to send you business.
So, there you have "the world´s best system to get more referrals."
You see it´s not hard. It´s not complicated. It didn´t require a 250 page book to explain it. And it doesn´t cost anything.
More importantly, it works.
It works because it´s focused on other people, not on us. It´s focused on doing good work, on doing things for others, on being nice and on maintaining important relationships.
It works because it helps you do things for other people. And that´s the bottom line in business and in life.