Are your efforts good enough?
Maybe you think you’re doing a great job at getting referrals. Conversely, perhaps you know it’s an area you need to work on. If you’re struggling to get business right now because of the tough economy, you need to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to 1) keep in touch and stay top of mind with everyone in your database so you can get as much repeat business as possible and 2) maximize the number of referrals you get.
If you’re a Realtor, you may have heard that the most successful agents get about 80-90% of their business from existing clients and referrals. So, just what makes someone (or a business) truly “referral worthy”? Are you wondering if you’re doing all you can to maximize the number of referrals you get? Certainly, there’s more to building your referral business than just making certain that your clients are 110% satisfied.
Are you asking for referrals or are you just hoping that happy clients will refer you? If you fall into the latter category, you might want to think again. Not only should you consistently ask for referrals from those around you, but you should also be specific when asking. Here’s what I mean. When requesting referrals, let people know who around them they may be able to refer to you. Mention the types of individuals who may benefit from the services you provide. This gets people thinking and makes them more likely to refer. For example, they may think to themselves, “She’s right, there are a few ladies in my book club who are growing their families and looking to move into a bigger home. I should recommend Mary as a great Realtor.”
As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to constantly be top of mind with your clients so when an opportunity to refer you arises, you’re the person they’ll think of. If you’re a Realtor, it’s important to ensure that you’re keeping in touch through a combination of face-to-face interactions, telephone calls, and emails and direct marketing pieces.
When a client does refer you, how do you respond? Your actions after a referral can be just as important as the actions you take to get the referral. I believe that the best approach is to thank the referrer in person and send them a card with a meaningful token of your appreciation. Demonstrate how grateful you are and how important referrals are to your business. Lastly, let the referrer know of the outcome of the referral and keep them “in the loop.”
In order to maximize your “referral worthiness,” how you position yourself is vital. You need to come across as a professional who provides unique and one of a kind services and as a true expert in your field.
But that’s not all. I think that it’s important to have a system in place to help you organize your referrals and the action you take leading up to and after a referral takes place. For example, never underestimate the importance of a good, industry-specific contact management system to assist you in tracking, managing, and organizing your referrals and the actions you take to stay top of mind (for instance, your marketing pieces and other “keep in touch” activities). It’ll make your life a whole lot easier and really help streamline your business.
So to wrap up, if you want to build your referrals-based business, and see your business grow exponentially, consider following these best practices:
- Provide referral worthy service
- Ask for referrals early and often, be specific, and provide examples
- Stay “top of mind” through ongoing communication with your sphere
- Use a good, industry-specific contact management system
- Position yourself as a professional who provides one of a kind services
- Thank the people who provide you with referrals in a meaningful way and close the loop with the person who sent you the referral