You’re heard it before and you know it’s true. Referrals are how you grow your business. Businesses that get referrals are easier to run, have an easier time getting new clients, keep the clients they have, and are often more profitable. You would like to just snap your fingers and have an unending stream of referrals fall in your lap.
I must get at least one email a day promising me that if I just sign up for their program referrals will come flooding in. Even better, I won’t have to do any work for this to happen.
Every time I read one of these emails I just have to laugh. I know that it’s not that easy. In fact, I know that referrals happen only because I’ve worked very hard at making myself referable. Once I’ve become referable I might have a chance of someone recommending me.
It starts with keeping your word. We’ve all heard the statement, “under promise and over deliver.”
It really is even more basic than that. It’s not about under promising, it’s just about doing what you say you’re going to do. If I say, “I’ll have a report to you on Friday” and I don’t get around to it till next Tuesday, I’ve not kept my promise. If I say I’ll set up a luncheon between you and someone else and I don’t, I’ve not kept my promise.
You might see this as just a minor issue. The person you’ve made the promise to likely doesn’t. I know that when someone says they’re going to do something at a particular time and they don’t, my trust level goes down just a little and sometimes more than just a little.
The basis for referrals is trust. Trust appears when you do what you say you’ll do. When you don’t follow through, a little of that trust disappears. After all, when I refer you to someone else it’s also my reputation that’s on the line. I certainly am not going to refer someone that might make me look bad. I can do that well enough all by myself with no help from those who don’t follow through.
Say please and thank you. If someone does something nice for you, say thank you. When someone follows through, say thank you. When you ask someone to do something for you, ask them in a nice way. If you want to be referable you’ll have to have people like you. Saying please and thank you goes a long way towards that outcome.
Show up on time. This just seems so obvious, but it’s ignored by so many. When you have an appointment with someone whether in person or on the phone, show up on time. If you can’t make it, cancel early with appropriate apologies. If you’re going to be late, even if its ten minutes, find a way to let the other person know.
When you’re being considerate of someone else’s time you’re being considerate of the person. When you show up on time you’re showing respect for others. This makes it easy for you to be recommended when the time comes.
Offer before being asked. I am often asked to do something that will help other people’s business. The first time I’m asked I always say yes. The second time, I might say yes. If there is a third ask I become less enthusiastic. Eventually I realize the person asking is someone who knows how to take but doesn’t know how to give. I only want relationships where information and good things flow both ways.
I’m happy to help you when you ask. I also expect that when I do this, that at some point you might say, “what can I do to help.” If that time never comes my enthusiasm will wane very quickly and I likely will just not want to help.
I believe that if you offer first with no expectation of a reciprocal action you make yourself referable. When I extend myself good things happen. When I offer myself as part of a quid pro quo, nothing comes back.
I find others want to be valued for who they are, not what they can do for me. What are you doing to be referable? Do you make sure you follow the lessons you learned in kindergarten?
We’ve put together a Strategic Marketing Guide that will help you find your ideal customer. Once you’ve identified what your best customer looks like you are taking another step towards getting referrals. To get your copy of this guide, please click on the button below.