Tuesday, March 6, 2012


You’ve completed a job and your client is raving about how pleased they are with your work.  So…the logical response would be to ask them to refer new business to you.  Surprisingly many people hate asking for referrals – are you that person? 
Be honest. Does your heart start to pump faster and hands start to sweat even thinking about asking a customer for a referral? If you’re like me, you hate to impose on others. Asking for names of friends or family members almost makes you have an anxiety attack and you avoid doing it.  But we all know that referrals are the very best way to grow your business.
Excellent service is a great place to start.  But still, not enough to get you referrals. How come?  The reason for this is that consumers often think why on earth should I give you a referral? I know it's important to you, but why is it important to me?
People often think they have a lot to lose if they refer someone to you. If they are not pleased with your work (even if it is through no fault of your own) it will reflect back on the person who made the referral.  I often hear from people …oh I never make referrals because it is so hard to please others.

Given the no-win nature of most referrals, you need to reset your expectations and consider a few ideas:

  Make it easy for someone to bring up what you do by making sure they know you, your service or product and your work style.  Teach them to tell your story.

  Give your best customers something of real value to offer when they refer your product.  Think of perks, not necessarily financial, for both the new customer and the person who made the referral.  Anything from a pen (with your business contact information on it to a free consultation could make a big difference).

  Paying to refer you rarely works, because you're not just asking for a minute of time, you're asking the referral source to put their reputation on the line for you.  Develop your relationship with the referral source so that they are confident about what you do and trust that you are going to do a great job.

  Understand that low-risk referrals get your foot in the door.  Let your referral sources no about a product or service you provide that will introduce a new customer to you without shaking up their business in any way.  This will put the ball in your court to earn more business from that referral.

  Be worthy. Not just in the work you do, but in your status in the marketplace. People are far more likely to refer someone with a back story, someone who's an underdog, or relatively unknown. That's why saying "thank you" in deeds (not so much in words) goes a long way.

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