Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 9:13 pm | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

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John Daly: Growing Your Business with Referrals

Did you know that referrals are one of the very best ways to grow your business? Even though you can dramatically increase your client base, many small business people don’t ask for referrals.

Maybe because they assume that their clients will just automatically say good things about them. Or perhaps they don’t feel comfortable asking?

Think about it. When you order something from Amazon or any other online purveyor, what’s the first thing they ask for a few days after you’ve received the product?

That’s right. They want to know, “How did we do? If you like us, will you give us a review?” That, of course, is the best way to get referrals online.

The problem with not asking is that assumptions are usually wrong, and most business people, even though they loved your product or service, just don’t think about referring you.

Unless you ask them, of course. If you don’t ask, it’s somewhat like ordering a sandwich and not finishing it.

If you would like to grow your business and get more clients, make it a policy within your company to always ask for a referral once you’ve ascertained your customer is satisfied.

Need to Overcome the Fear of Asking?

» First, keep in mind that most people like to help others.

» Think of it like this: what’s the worst thing that can happen? Seriously, the worst is that the client will say “No.” That’s not life-threatening, is it?

» In your last meeting or follow-up with the client, make it a policy to ask for a referral if you know the client is happy. 

Examples of Referral Requests

Never ask for a referral when you are presenting the bill. Always ask in person. That’s the more respectful way, PLUS people are more likely to say “Yes” if you are standing or sitting in front of them!

If that’s impossible, then go ahead and ask over the phone or in an email, but try to do it in person when you can.

Be direct. Say: “I’m so pleased that you are happy with my work. Would you be kind enough to pass my name to anyone else you think might be interested in (your kind of work)?” If the answer is “Yes,” ask the person if you can give him or her several of your business cards to make the referral process easier for him or her.

If you want to be even more direct, ask the person for names of people who might be interested in your line of work. Say something like, “I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone who would be interested in what we do.”

Some people will provide you with names; others won’t. But, if they do, jot down the names and then ask permission to contact the people directly or ask if they would rather just pass along your information.

When asking for referrals, you can also request a testimonial or short written endorsement of your company to use on your website or in your collateral materials. One of the best ways to handle that is to have a printed form that they can take with them and email you later. Don’t put anyone on the spot and expect them to complete it right away.

The form can simply have a place for the client’s name, contact name, title and date. Then start then off with “I would recommend XYZ Company for XXX services because ... And then leave lots of space for them to fill in the blanks.

Remember the old adage: “Nothing ventured; nothing gained.”

Referrals will get you more clients, and the more clients you ask, the more customers you will get. It doesn’t take much effort on your part and offers great returns.

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the keys to life skills success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy his book. John’s new book, 74 Key Life Skills for a Happy, Successful Life, will be out this fall. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook and follow John on Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have a question about business or social etiquette? Ask John at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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