Revving up referrals is a great way to win new business and is essential to networking.
About This Revving Up Referrals Podcast
This Revving Up Referrals podcast is here to help you build up the number of referrals you get. It’s al designed to help you get referrals for others. You’re creating word-of-mouth for your business when networking, so revving up referrals is key to success.
Here’s the Revving Up Referrals podcast is transcribed for you here.
“You’ll often hear me mentioning referrals, because that’s my area of expertise; helping business owners and professionals to get referrals.
You may have listened to earlier episodes and heard me talking about how important it is for you to help other people get referrals when networking, too.
When I’m referring to referrals, I mean when you either give or gain a referral, which is more than a hot lead, it’s permission to call someone, who may be interested in your product or services, and they’re expecting your call.
The last bit, expecting the call, is the crucial part. That’s the difference between a lead and a referral. It’s that permission to contact the other party that gets you the ‘foot in the door’ that makes the difference.
We can all create leads, but referrals are king when it comes to networking.
Forgive me if you’re an experienced networker and you already knew the difference between a lead and a referral, but not everyone does, especially people who are new to networking. If you are new to networking, then it’s good to get things straight from the start.
Interestingly, in a recent survey that I carried out, 39% of business owners were not satisfied with the number of referrals they give out to other businesses. Yet 85% were satisfied with the number of referrals they received. Furthermore, 76% of that 85% closed the majority of business from referrals they had received.
I found these figures extremely interesting, because I think it highlights that when businesspeople get a referral, they really want to reciprocate if they can. If they can’t then it leaves them unsatisfied, like they’re not doing enough.
This proves that even when people are networking in a pressure free environment where referrals are encouraged, but not demanded, even then we each have an innate need to help those who have helped us.
So, surely it stands to reason that knowing how to refer as much business as we can to others, then we can all reap the rewards from that.
With this in mind, I thought I’d take some time to help you with revving up your referrals.
Revving Up Referrals Tips
Let’s start with revving up your referrals for others, then we’ll focus on how you can get more referrals.
Start With Your Circle Of Influence
I always say that as businesspeople, we know people who know more people, so start there. Start with your circle of influence. Who do you know who you could introduce your networking associates to? Your circle of influence includes those people who you know well. You know the ones who would probably take a call from someone if you asked them too.
Granted, you need to know, like and trust these people before you refer them on, but if and when you do feel confident to refer them on, really take the time to focus on that power circle of influence and do your best to help.
Your Outer Circle
Next there’s those outer circle people. These are the ones who you know, but they’re perhaps more like acquaintances. With these people, simply touch base with them, put the feelers out there to establish how interested they are in talking to the person you have in mind. The one you’re trying to refer to them.
With these people, it’s vital that you know how to overcome barriers that might come up. Like, we already have commercial cleaning company, for example. In the previous episode, we focused on one-to-one meetings, and this backs up the importance of them, because if you know and understand the business that you’re trying to refer on, then and only then, you can overcome the objection, especially if you know what differentiates them from the competition.
Family And Friends
There’s also family and friends, which many people forget about. When they think of helping other businesses to gain referrals, there’s a tendency to gravitate to business connections only, but I’ve seen tens of thousands of pounds worth of business being passed on through referrals to personal connections. Again, there is a big element of trust here, so make certain that you truly know the person and business you’re referring on.
Remember about groups that you’re a part of too. I know so many businesspeople who are involved with things like scout groups, sailing groups or cycling groups. The list goes on, but you get my point.
Social media is a great way of networking, and I’m not just talking about tagging someone in on a post. It’s much more powerful than that. How many professional relationships do you have with people you’ve never actually physically met? You know those people who you interact with regularly, even daily, and probably feel like you know them, despite the fact that you’ve not met. These connections are an excellent way to help generate referrals too.
It might be by being reactive and responding to posts. However, being proactive, upfront and direct works well too. There’s no harm in direct messaging someone on social media to try and create a referral.
Hi, Jackie, how are you. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you looking for a new commercial cleaning company? I realise that you may already work with another cleaning company, but I know Jed from ABC Cleaning, they specialise in working with Care Homes, then name one or two things that differentiates them from the competition and ask if it’s ok to connect them. If they say yes, that’s great – you just got someone a referral.
If they say no, that’s great too, because you can tell the other party to cross them off their target list. Better still, if they’re not interested, view it as a not interested right now, send them the contact details for the company you’re trying to introduce and ask if things change can they let you know.
They may or may not keep those contact details, but I’m sure if something happened in the future, then they’ll remember your exchange and come back to you, because dealing with a company that has been recommended is so much more powerful.
You’re Not Selling
Remember, though, when you’re getting a referral for others, you’re not selling their products or services. That’s they’re job, once you’ve got them the referral. All you’re doing is sewing the seed and getting them an introduction. So, you have to know enough to understand their business model or products, know what differentiates them from their competition, but you don’t have to close the deal, so please don’t put that pressure on yourself, otherwise you’ll find yourself procrastinating with referrals, because you’ll may be uncomfortable or embarrassed to ask.
On a last note, about getting referrals for others, as you start to get referrals for others, remember that the person you’re reaching out to in order to get a referral for someone else, will often be extremely grateful, because you’re helping them too. Another reason, not to worry about trying to help others get referrals.
I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve spoken to someone to get permission to pass on their contact details to someone else, as in getting them a referral, and that person has been so grateful, because it’s either solved a problem or helped them advance in some way.
Build Your Brand
Now, about getting referrals yourself. Build your brand, so that when someone does refer you on, people are familiar with you and/or your brand. Sometimes, it’s easy to think that brand awareness isn’t a priority, especially if you’re a small business with limited funds for marketing. I get that there may be a temptation to focus your marketing activities on direct response marketing. However, creating brand awareness is crucial.
Social media is really cost-effective way to do this. Even if you’re not always getting lots of likes and comments, don’t worry about it, getting your brand seen by your target market matters. Plus, it’s not uncommon for final sales to be the outcome of lots of marketing communications strategies, not just one.
Your customers may not know which one was the final point for them to make contact, but you definitely need at least three or four marketing activities working for you. Preferably seven, eight or nine! You can keep building that up over time. But remember that your brand is crucial when it comes to getting referrals, because positive and effective brand awareness creates trust.
Second is ask for referrals. You’ll be amazed how many businesses don’t’ ask for business. Referral business is the best business, so ask your customers to refer you on. If your customers aren’t referring business to you, especially repeat customers, it probably isn’t because they wouldn’t, or they’re unhappy, it’s probably because they’ve just not thought to. So, suggest it to them. You can put a referral scheme in place, but that’s a whole other podcast episode. For now, though, just ask! Please, if you’re not already doing this, and you start, please get in touch and let m know how you get on. I’d love to know what a difference it makes.
My third suggestion, builds on details outlined in other previous episodes, about knowing your customers, so that you can be specific. If you haven’t done so already, do build a customer avatar. It will help you with all aspects of your marketing, but importantly, you will be able to be specific about the referrals that you’re seeking. Simply be telling other people who your ideal customer is and who you would like introductions to, will have a profound impact on the quantity and quality of the referrals you receive.
Coming Back To Social Media
I’m coming full circle back to social media now. If you’re not doing so already, boost your presence on social media. Be seen in different groups. Take the time to comment on other people’s posts and start interacting. Can’t afford the time. I’d suggest that you can’t afford not to.
As you build up your social media presence, before you know it, you’ll find people tagging you in on posts and referring you on to others, even people who don’t know you. It links back to brand awareness. You can build trust through social media too. I’m not suggesting taking hours our of your day every day, just be present and be consistent.
Different social media platforms will suit different businesses, but whichever one you chose, keep at it and it will help rev up your referrals.
Even if you can’t do all the things that I’m suggesting, chose one or two, implement them, do them consistently, then add in other techniques, until eventually you’re doing all of them.
If I Can Help
If I can help, do get in touch with me via my website www.tracyheatley.com. I have a few networking coaching slots and I’ll be setting up my new training dates soon.
If you would like to be entered into my podcasting draw to win a free one-hour online networking coaching session with me do send me a review of this podcast and I’ll add you to this month’s draw.
I’m Tracy Heatley, from Better Networking. Thank you for listening to my Better Networking – How to Be a Networking Ninja Podcast”!