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Value Creation Blog

Referrals Are All About Context - Enterprise Value

Posted by Victoria Gehlmeyer

referralsMany businesses have referrals as the best way to create new customers or clients.  Even though we know referrals can help us grow our business, we often are reticent about asking for them for a variety of reasons. 

For me, the reason I don’t often ask for referrals is because it doesn’t feel authentic to me.  I know a referral can help me grow my business, but just to ask for an introduction when I don’t know if I can help someone just doesn’t feel right.

I’m at a Financial Planning Association meeting now and as a result of some of the sessions I’ve attended I might have a different take on referrals going forward.  Instead of asking for referrals by name, I’m thinking that asking for referrals by situations makes a lot more sense. 

For example as I’m talking about things I do, I would feel fine asking that if someone I’m speaking with knows someone that needs a particular expertise that they use my name.  That way when they run across someone with a problem I can help with, they’ll know that I’m the person they should recommend.

I was in a session where the presenter was going over the disconnect between how many referrals clients think they give versus how many referrals we actually get.  Yes, a client might mention my name out of context, but if they mention my name in context it would be a much more powerful recommendation.  If someone needs a service I can uniquely provide and people I know about those services, there is a better chance that they might let others know that I’m a good candidate to help solve that problem.

I love to help others find solutions for their problems.  I pride myself on having a rolodex with best practices people in a large variety of areas.  However, if one of them was to ask me for referrals out of context, I would likely not make a recommendation.  If their expertise can help someone I know I will enthusiastically make a recommendation.

I’m curious.  When you make referrals or suggest someone how do you go about deciding who to refer?  Or, do you not make a referrals at all?  If not, why not?

Josh Patrick

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Topics: for business owners, business relationship management, enterprise value, for advisors, Customer Service

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