Client Referrals – what’s holding you back?

What is holding you back from getting or giving referrals?

When was the last time you were asked for (or gave) a referral? Come on, think! How about: “Read any good books lately?” or “What did you think of that new restaurant?” or “Where did you learn about how to fix that?” What was that experience like? It’s just part of our everyday conversation. So why is it so hard to apply to a business situation?

Experience tells me that there are 2 things that often hold business people back from taking full advantage of referral marketing:

1. The lack of a referral marketing system – or not having a system that minimises workload and maximises your time, and

2. The presence of fear. When I say fear, I mean like the fear of being rejected, fear that you will appear to be begging for business, or fear that your existing clients don’t really care about helping you build your business.

If your perception is that your clients will be put off by your desire to involve them in helping you grow your business, those perceptions are wrong. Based on the experience where you gave or received a referral, do you think your experience is any different to your clients? The key message here is your clients are just like you. They refer for exactly the same reasons and they also don’t refer for the reasons you don’t refer.

One thing to remember: the higher the likely or perceived cost or risk, the more emphasis is placed on personal referral.

Client referrals – Overcoming FEAR

It’s a well known fact that it costs 6 to 8 times more to get a new customer than it does to do more business with an existing customer!

I am amazed that restaurants and pubs don’t get that. How much more money would they get if they actually asked a customer if they’d like another drink? OK, maybe we drink enough here in Australia, but you get my point don’t you? When planning an event with a supplier, wouldn’t it be worth them asking a few more questions?

  • Who recently got a new doctor or a builder? How did you choose them? Very few people feel comfortable going to a new doctor or hiring a builder based on a doctor’s or builder’s ad in the Yellow Pages. When looking for a lawyer, doctor, accountant or any kind of professional … or any kind of business for that matter, most people ask someone they trust for a referral. Don’t you?
  • People like to help – it feels good and makes them feel valued!
  • People also like to demonstrate how smart they are. When clients find a business that provides a solution, makes their life better, or just plain saves them money, they like to talk about it. They like to tell anyone who will listen how smart they were that they got such a good deal.
  • Some people even like to tell others what to do!

Get over it

Remember, If you provide a service that helps people solve problems and meets their needs, then you are doing a disservice to your clients if you don’t actively seek referrals. And as people love to help, show how smart they are or tell others what to do then why would you not help your client achieve this?

Philippa Storey – Is a sought after speaker, trainer and facilitator on loyalty marketing and customer service & customer retention. She has 14 years experience assisting companies in focusing on building customer relationships and developing loyalty marketing programmes to increase revenue and profits.