Everyone can get some referrals. But how do you get more referrals? There are three key steps to increasing the number of referrals you receive.
You must build a referral source’s confidence in you so that they will want to take credit for referring you to someone they know. This involves being consistent in many small actions you take with these people – always be on time, always do good work, always be truthful, etc. Do more than solve problems – do a little extra. Show that you care about them and their business. And always thank them for the referral.
Build relationships with the people who refer business to you. Provide them with useful information (such as a newsletter). Find points of common interest or similarity so that they can identify with you and feel comfortable around you – and in referring you. Stay in touch with people for more than getting referrals. Maintain a database of contacts so that you can stay in touch and remember what is important to them.
To be referred, you have to be remembered – you must stick out in people’s minds when they think about your service. Do something outstanding or dramatic that people will remember. You can also provide a niche service that people will remember applies only to you. Staying in touch on a regular basis will help people to remember you.
Bonus tip – Getting a written referral
When you’ve completed work for a client who is satisfied with the results, ask for a written referral. Ask the person to write a letter that states how they benefited from your service. If they agree, they will often ask you to write the referral letter in the wording that you like, and they will print it on their letterhead and sign their name. Determine what is most important to state in the referral letter that would appeal most to potential clients.
Once the letter is written, ask if you could send the letter to some people the client knows. Ask if they can think of specific referrals that would fit into the service you provide. If they come up with a name or two, ask if you could take a look at their contact list to see who else would benefit from receiving the letter. (Personally, getting a couple of names would be more than enough for me.) You can then customize the letter to the different potential clients to have even more impact.
You can try this approach with one client or friend that you are most comfortable with. This could provide hundreds of referrals, and then from there, your confidence will grow – as will your referral sources.
How do you like to ask for referrals? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.