The Magic of Referrals
I started my training and consulting business a little over 10 years ago. My first big client was a local bank. As a 25 year bank Veteran it was a natural start. I became friends with a number of people there. I will always be grateful to them for being instrumental in the growth of my business as they willing gave me referrals. My next client was community bank in Northern California near my mother’s residence who I visited several times a year. That bank referred me to another bank in Northern California who referred me to another bank in California. That bank then referred me to a major hardware store in their community. I then developed new materials for a variety of businesses all with the common thread of sales, service and leadership skill building. Seeing a pattern? My business has grown one happy customer at a time. Yours can too!
Throughout these 10 years I’ve really never advertised. Referrals have come on a steady basis, as one customer has shared my business approach with another and so on… It has seemed magical at times. Early on, I was asked to speak at two national conferences each with over 100 attendees. From that time on, the phone somehow rings with another request for training. Some years have surely been better than others. As a self employed person I worry each year that the bubble might burst. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I look forward to all that follows. I will always be thankful to those businesses that have helped me along the way.
For qualified sales leads, it’s hard to beat referrals. It’s often said that the best salesperson is a “happy customer.” The best place to get referrals is in your own market place. Develop a group of centers of influence that will help your business grow. Referrals are in many ways like a report card. They tell us how well we are doing by whether or not other folks would refer us as a potential client. Referrals are in fact risk and trust. A referral means your customer is willing to risk his or her friendship or relationship with others in order to give them to you as a business lead. When customers refer friends or business contacts they trust you to deliver top notch products and services. In short, referrals are never just given they are earned.
Here’s some ways to earn referrals;
1) Become friends with your customers. Meet them socially, at business networking events, informal lunches, even on the golf course. Customers who are your friends naturally want to put you in touch with their friends.
2) Provide incredible service. Be certain that you and your company provide the absolute highest level of service in your industry. When you do so referrals are a natural result.
3) Anticipate the needs of your clients and prospects. The easy way of doing so is once you develop a relationship, stay in contact with them and be sure to proactively ask how you can be of help to them.
4) Be a provider of extra value. Under promise and over deliver. Find something that you can do for the customer that is in addition to the expected products or services. Go the extra mile!
5) Give referrals back to your customers. This is a sure way of showing your trust and respect in them and developing a relationship where referrals go in both directions.
Embrace these principles and watch your business grow.
These principles earn you word of mouth potential or W.O.M.P. This should be every salesperson’s goal – W.O.M.P.
When other salespeople, businesses or industries refer to you with praise and share their confidence in you, others naturally want to follow. We give referrals all the time and may not even be aware when we do. We do so in the spirit of helping others. Think of the many times a friend, work associate or neighbor asks who you work with as your doctor, hairdresser, or realtor. You are simply sharing your opinion about another professional that you do business with. You give these referrals with full confidence that they will “deliver” and make you look good. Since you are happy with their service you expect them to be happy with them too. There’s simply no better way to build your business or client base than with solid referrals. And remember get a referral – give a referral in return. Watch your business grow.
Here’s wishing you success…