Asking referrals is a tricky business. In this digital age wherein online and digital marketing are the trends, is word of the mouth too old school for your business? Renowned Sales Trainer Tom Hopkins does not think so! In a study he conducted a few years ago, he said that the closed deal ratio for referrals is 60% versus 10% for non-qualified leads. This means that referrals are more likely to become your customers than cold contacts. Referral marketing is also more cost-effective compared to other strategies – drawing pull merely from satisfied clients’ reviews. If the potential for asking referrals is huge, then why not do it?
As a professional, when asking for referrals, you don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy. But given the success that comes from referrals, you need to be asking for them. I personally make sure that I’ve got a few things covered before I ask my clients to tell their friends about me. Here are five ways you can do to get more client referrals:
Make Your Clients Happy
To get referrals, make yourself “referable” by providing the best service to current customers. Be detail-oriented. Deliver what you promised. And, never ever miss the deadline. Clients who are satisfied with your service are more likely to come back and bring a friend. Check out some of my happy clients here.
Focus on the Best of the Best
While it doesn’t hurt to ask all of your clients for referrals, it might not be the most efficient way to get new customers. A better method is to look at your list of clients, and choose the ones who are enthusiastic about your business or those with whom you have built strong bonds of trust. They are the clients who are most likely to give you referrals when asked.
Go the Extra Mile
We need to maintain a level of professionalism with clients, but this doesn’t mean our relationship with them should be rigid. Take note of your clients’ interests. Send them a link of an article that would help their new venture, or give them extra service. This shows that you care about them even after your project was over.
Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”
Thank you will go a long way in business. Express your gratitude to your clients by sending them an email, a card, or a letter. If you received a referral, give your client a personalised letter, preferably handwritten, along with a small token of gratitude. Then treat the referral as someone precious.
Give and Take Referrals
The old adage “Give and you shall receive” is true. Sometimes, you first have to give your clients a referral before you receive one. This shows that you trust them, and they will trust you in return.
So, How do You Go About Asking for Referrals?
I posted this question in one of the Facebook group that I belong to and got some amazing responses from different business people. Here’s a few of them:
“I generally call (not email) clients I have a strong rapport with and for whom we delivered well and just straight up ask “I enjoyed our dealings together, and would love to trade referalls (if b2b)/receive a referral (if b2c) or kind review from you if you have the time”. Generally, people are pretty stoked that we respect them enough to ask directly” – Peter
“We’re B2B in a pretty connected industry, so management in one business usually know at least one or two of their counterparts at other businesses. First, we always aim to blow away our clients with quality and integrity so managers don’t worry about recommending us. Second, we don’t usually need to ask for a direct referral because “name-dropping” works so well. For example, we’ll ask Dave at XYZ Business if he knows any managers at a few particular businesses that we could talk to, and he may say he knows Bob at XYZ Business. We’ll call XYZ Business and ask for Bob. If we feel pushback from the gatekeeper, we’ll say, Dave from ABC asked us to give Bob a call. When we get to Bob, we’ll say, “Hey Bob, this is Dan from Dan’s Business. Dave from ABC said we should give you a call. Do you have a couple minutes to chat?” I’d say we probably have a 90% success rate with getting a meeting and demonstration booked with these referrals with a similar sign up rate.” – Dan
This is just a start. With these simple steps, you can increase your chances of getting client referrals and sales revenue. After all, as a marketing strategy, asking referrals is not as outdated as you thought.
How about you, have you already tried some of these for your self? Do you have other ideas that worked for you? Share them in the comments section below.