You need fresh blood to keep your business thriving. But, getting to those prospects is the tricky part. No one likes cold calling. Purchased leads are always a little iffy. When it comes to new potential business, referrals are where it's at.
A referral from a friend or colleague is gold. Your current customers know enough about their friend's situation to know whether the person is a qualified lead. And, the social proof that comes from a recommendation gives you a degree of trust and authenticity that money can't buy.
Too many professionals are afraid to ask for referrals because they are afraid of rejection. They feel that they are imposing on their customers. Or, they're just plain shy. But, with this no-fail three-part process, you'll always have as many new referrals coming in as you can handle!
Part One: Promise Excellence
At the start of your transaction, let your customer know that it is your number one goal to make them happy. Tell them with perfect confidence that you aim to exceed their every expectation. When people are primed to be pleased, they usually comply.
When you promise excellence, you need to be sincere. If there is any part of your process that is rough, fix it so that everything goes smoothly. Customer experience is everything. Just getting their product or service is not enough. They need to feel comfortable, cared for and confident in your abilities at every juncture.
Part Two: Deliver
Make it clear how happy you are to have their business. Be available when they reach out. Respond to messages quickly. Give your clients your undivided attention. Fulfill requests immediately. And, go out of your way to go above and beyond.
Think about it this way: if two companies offered the same product, but one had sales people who made you feel like your business was truly appreciated, which would you be more likely to recommend?
If there are any problems that come up during the sales process, make sure that you address them immediately. This doesn't just save your current sale. It dramatically increases the chances that they'll be able to recommend you to someone else without a qualm.
Caring and attentive customer service is the very best advertisement you can make for your business. When people are happy with the service that you provide, they will go out of their way to make friends, family and colleagues as happy as they are.
And, if the customer isn't happy? Ask them to tell you why.
Don't be afraid to ask for criticism. Do not give in to the impulse to avoid unpleasant feedback. It is the only way you can learn how to be better and how to make your customers happy in the future.
Part Three: Ask for the Referral at the Right Time
The very best time to ask for referrals is immediately after doing business. When your customers are feeling happy and satisfied, they are more likely to be willing to give you the contact information of people who might want your services.
Ask if you exceeded their expectations. When they answer in the positive (and they will if you followed the two directives above) tell them that you work on referrals.
Slide them a piece of paper and ask them to take a couple of minutes to write down the names of three people they think can use your product or service. Let them know that you intend to make their friends as happy as you made them.
By taking advantage of that high, you catch them when they feel warmly toward you. They'll be happy to help you as much as you helped them.
If you commit to these three steps every time you sit down with a new customer, you will have people eager to give you referrals. By promising an excellent customer experience, delivering on that promise and striking while the iron is hot, you can dramatically increase your reach with new potential customers.
And, as they do business with you and recommend you to their new friends, you'll find that you are busier than ever. By moving more of your business to referrals, you can increase your earnings, increase your customer satisfaction and make your business grow.