Sunday, December 16, 2012

Demystifying Referrals

I refer people that are helpful, caring, and customer service oriented. 

I refer people who do what they say they are going to do, sometimes more.

I refer people who have joy in doing what they do.

I refer people who I can count on.

I refer people with a track record of success.

Who do you refer?

When you discover the kind of people and businesses that you refer, then you can begin thinking about designing your business and your service to earn the referrals that you desire.

Take the time to think about the people that you do refer and the people you would be willing to refer.  Assemble a list of those people.  Be willing to share that list and expand your referral giving.  Be a connector.  The spirit of giving will likely lead to more referrals coming your way.

First you have to walk the walk, then you can talk the talk.  Give referrals in order to get referrals.  Deliver exemplary service to earn referrals.  When you do, then you can talk about your record of success.

In talking about your record of success you will want to communicate without bragging while adding value to the lives of your past clients and sphere. 
For instance, in a marketing piece that shows your recent sales, you will want to include valuable advice on how to reduce energy bills or pay off a mortgage faster.  The truth is your audience is still more concerned about themselves than your livelihood.  By always providing them with something of value they are more likely to be impressed enough with you to recommend you to others.

Assuming that your audience, your past clients and sphere of influence, has a highly favorable view of you such that they might be willing to refer you, they still will not refer you unless you are on the top of their mind, which means that you need to reach out to them on a regular basis with regular communication.  You will not follow up regularly without a follow up schedule and/or a system of communication.  A predesigned system of communication will include a variety of media and occur at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, annually).

To the extent that you can personalize the communication with past clients and sphere you will be that much farther ahead in earning their referrals.  If the numbers are just too large to personalize effectively, you will want to automate your systems to provide for greater efficiency.  Finding a way to blend automated communications with personalized communications might be ideal.

Nonetheless it is essential to stay on the top of the minds of your fans and keep them fans by always adding value to their lives.

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