THREE WAYS TO GET REFERRALS
Identify. Serve. Follow up.
Referrals are still one of the best ways to grow a small business. I am constantly looking for new ideas on this subject and recently came across an article that I have summarized below:
1. You can’t be everything to everyone and the same goes in the cultivation of referrals. Not everyone you meet is in a position to send referrals your way. This means that you have to be selective in selecting your potential referral partners. Networking is an important part of small business growth; the secret is to be selective in your networking choices. I suggest that you create a list of the type of people that you feel are in the best position to send you referrals. Who are they? What kind of business are they in? Why do you feel that they are in a position to send you referrals? Armed with this information you can now select to network with those that are in a position to help.
2. In previous blogs I have stated that you must first give in order to receive. Now that you have identified your best referral sources, like you, they also want to grow their businesses. Your next challenge is to understand their needs and see how you can first help them grow their businesses. The secret to this part is to learn to ask the right questions and then to “shut up and listen”.
3. The third step in this process is follow-up. Just because you meet someone who tells you that they will refer you, does not mean that you can go back to your office and wait for the new business to arrive. What frequently happens after a first meeting, although the intentions were good, both parties go back to their daily routines and both forget about each other. Ongoing touches, at least two a month are necessary to start the referral building process. Giving something with each touch such as an article pertaining to their business or an introduction to a possible customer are several ways of making those necessary touches.
Like everything else that has to happen in your business, efficiency is the key to success; the same holds true when you are marketing yourself to an individual or a group. Spend your marketing time with those that are in a position to help.
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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