5 Great Places to Find Referrals
by Derek Weber
Referrals are the single most effective way to grow a business because the rate of closing is so much higher than any other prospecting tool. The key to getting good referrals is very simple, ask for them. This may seem silly, but unless you educate people who you are looking for and then physically ask them to send people like that to you, their will be tens of thousands of dollars left on the table every year.
Who should you be asking for referrals from? The shortest answer to that is everyone, but there are a few groups of people that if ask them for referrals, not only will you get more of them, they will be better qualified leads.
Friends & Family:
This is the easiest and safest place to start. Let all of your friends and family know what you do and specifically what types of people you are looking for. Let them know key buzzwords that if they hear people say in conversation will trigger the fact you will be able to help them. Give a few business cards to any of your friends or family you think would be willing to give your card to a potential prospect.
This is the best but the most overlooked category of potential referrers. After ever closed deal, ask the client if they were happy with the way your service and product delivered, if they would be willing to provide a testimonial for our marketing materials and introduce you (over lunch is best, but by phone or email works as well) to 2 people they think would benefit from your service. You will be amazed by how eager satisfied clients are to help you find more business.
There is a certain type of person that always seems to “have a guy/girl who…” for everything. This is the person that if anyone in their network needs a product or service of any type, they know to call this person first. These people are called connectors. They like nothing more than hooking two people up in a successful business relationship. When you come across these people, you need to become “their guy/girl” for your industry.
In order to get in with connectors, you will first need to show that you posses those same abilities to put people together, and you must start with them and their business. Try to find ways to send business to them, and keep them up to date on what you are doing. Occasionally ask if they have come across anyone needing our products and services. In time, these people will send business your way.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but often times the people you talk with but don’t need help from your company, would be more than willing to offer referrals of others that could…if you ask. The key is to make sure they are properly educated on what would and would not make a good referral.
There are thousands of businesses out there that work with the same clients as you do. Think of your 5 best clients, and then make a list of all the vendors you can think of that they would use. At this point, think of a way that you could potentially help those vendors get more business…get creative here to come up with some great mutually beneficial opportunities. It could be as simple as two-way referrals or offering them a percentage of sales for referred business, or a much more detailed situation. Either way, find a way that both sides can benefit from the relationship, after all you are probably marketing your services to many of the same clients.
If you don’t have a system for generating referrals in your business, you are literally letting sales slip through your fingers every day. Despite what you may hear on the evening news, people in general are good and love to help other people succeed…but you have to make the first move and ask for that help.
Read our series on prosecting:
- Tips to make your cold calls more effective
- 4 ways to make networking easier
- 5 great places to find referrals
- Targeted Marketing: Hot chocolate for your sales