Hate cold-calling, waiting for the phone to ring, or the lack of business that you are receiving from those business cards you have at the local superstore?Well then, referral business could be the answer that you are looking for!
For long term, sustainable business there is no better sales idea than the referral: Word-of-Mouth marketing.
But many business people do not fully understand referrals; in fact, the difference between a referral and a lead.So, let’s start by being clear about exactly what the difference between the two is.Put easily, a lead is where someone thinks another person may have a need for your product or service, whereas a referral is when someone knows that another person wants your product or service and, most importantly, wants you to contact them.
So, how do you go about getting more referrals?
As with most things, getting referrals isn’t that difficult, you just have to have a plan and go about it the right way.First you have to ask for referrals: friends, family, customers, suppliers.How many people have you actually asked for business?Don't just assume that they would give you business contacts because they know what you do.But there is no point in asking just anyone. (Now that isn’t to say that everyone you know couldn’t give you a referral, but if you want a steady flow of good referrals, you need to ask the right people.)A good place to begin is with people you know that have similar business contacts to you, but that you don’t compete with in business terms.
Then you need to educate them: let them know the type of business that you are looking for, how to ask for the referral, and how you will help their contacts.Let them know that you will do the same thing for them.If you give them referrals they are sure to want to give you referrals back.
And lastly, make sure you thank people for any referrals that they give you.Once again, if they are thanked they are sure to refer to you again.
Some very successful business people join referral groups such as BNI and these are definitely worth visiting, as are of course the Best of Richmond netwoking events.
One last thing, referrals are not like putting an advert in a paper.You can’t ask just once and then sit back and expect the referrals to roll in, you have to work at referrals. But if you do, and you do it well, your business contacts will grow and keep on growing for years to come.