3 Tips to Get All the Referrals You Want

by Pat Hammond on Wednesday, April 04, 2018

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In case you can't tell, I've been in a sales frame of mind lately. Two weeks ago I went to Sandler's awesome introductory sales training and last week, I attended a free SCORE webinar presented by Steve Gordon, Founder of The Unstoppable CEO, called Land More Referrals (Without Asking for Them).

It was kind of last-minute, I didn't hear about the webinar until about five minutes before it started, but since every business owner needs to know how to generate leads and I've been looking for an excuse to try a SCORE webinar I filled out the form and followed the link. An hour later I walked away with a few useful downloads and three tips for getting all the quality referrals you want.

In a perfect world, all of your clients would love you and automatically introduce all of their friends and business connections to you, but that's not the real world.

In the real world just because your clients love you doesn't mean they're going to say "Hey, I should really hook up my Uncle Fred with my awesome accountant."

People are busy. They're focussed on their own challenges and no matter how pleased they are with you, once you've solved their problem they'll move on to the next pain point.

The obvious solution is to simply ask them for referrals, but that's not always as easy as it sounds.

Some clients are fine with it, but if the client is someone who isn't comfortable with sales or doesn't really know much about what you do beyond how you helped them, it could get a little awkward. Which is where Gordon's system comes.

His three-step process includes a simple pitch for asking for referrals, a means for sharing information about your business, and a format to help you walk your client through the process of mining their contacts for leads.

The pitch is what Gordon calls the Value Conversation™. It may sound corny, but anyone who has ever done customer service or sales knows that pitches work because they address the most common stumbling blocks and keep the conversation on track.

The Value Conversation™ Script 

INSTRUCTIONS: Use this “script” as a model. Scripts are cool,
but you’ve got to put it in your words. Words that are authentic
and comfortable for you and that fit your business.

THE SCRIPT
“I’m so glad I was able to help you solve [name of problem]. I’m
really passionate about helping people overcome that challenge,
which is why I [wrote my book/created my seminar/created my
checklist, etc.**]. I’m on a mission to get this into the hands of as
many people as I can, as quickly as I can, because I know it will
have an impact...and I need your help

You know people at [name of group] that could really benefit from
[getting this book/hearing this information]. I’d like to give them
[my book/my seminar/my checklist] as a gift, with your
compliments. Who on this list should we [send it to/invite]?”

 

Gordon's second tip is called a Referral Kit™.

A Referral Kit™ is a piece of prepackaged marketing media that shows the prospective client how you can fix their problem.

It can be as simple as a pdf or as elaborate as an ebook or video. All it has to do is illustrate the client's challenge, how you can fix it, and provide a little nudge to get them to take the next step and call you. (see full pdf of example below)

 

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The purpose of the Referral Kit™ is to take the burden of sales from your client and allow the person being referred to self-select as a qualified lead.

One of the stumbling blocks Gordon mentions in his presentation is that the person giving the referral often becomes an unpaid, uninformed salesperson.

The reason this is a problem is that even though the referrer is happy with the service you provided them, they may not be fully aware of your other products or services, they may not realize that you service other markets, and they may not be very good salespeople.  That's why having this one little piece of marketing material makes it super easy for clients to share information about your business without having to actively sell your products and services. Even better, since the content is designed by you, you maintain control of the message, no matter who is sharing it.

The last item covered was the Reverse Prospecting™ Advantage.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Instead of simply asking your clients to think about who they know who would benefit from your service, you sit down with them and review who in their network they would be willing to send your Referral Kit™ to.

This technique is used quite a bit by realtors, but it works just as well in any other industry. It does require some preparation on your part, you will have to know who your client is connected to and what groups they are active in. You will also need to have a clearly defined avatar of your ideal customer before meeting with your client. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's worth the extra effort because this approach can lead to multiple referrals within the targeted group of your choice.

Overall, the information provided in the webinar was good and I can see how Gordon's suggestions would improve the quality and volume of your referrals, but these are not unique ideas. Pitches and the idea of sending a prospective client a brochure, flyer, or sales letter have been around since the dawn of time. The thing that does give his program value is the way he packages the steps together as a progression. It provides a solid foundation for a timid business person to make those first steps towards asking for a referral then builds on it by layering in the marketing material for substance and building a system to mine your clients' networks in a way that results in qualified leads.

At the end of the day, it was a free 1-hour webinar. Even if I only walked away with one useful tip it was worth my time. I didn't feel like I learned anything new, but the webinar reinforced what I already knew and served as a gentle nudge for me to make a conscious effort to seek more referrals. In that sense, it served its purpose.

If you struggle to get referrals or are looking for a relatively easy way to improve both the quality and volume of your referrals, it's probably worth an hour of your time to follow the link and listen to the recording.

For more information about free SCORE live webinars, recorded webinars, and on-demand classes please visit their website score.org.

 

Resources:

1. Visit unstoppableceo.net for more information from Steve Gordon about lead generation and sales

2. The Value Conversation™ Script - download directly from unstopableceo.net

3. Listen to Land More Referrals (Without Asking for Them) webinar for free at score.org

4. For information about in-person workshops and mentoring programs offered by SCORE, please visit the local Merrimack Valley SCORE chapter at merrimackvalley.score.org

 

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