By Bill Cates
Keep Asking for Referrals
Don’t forget to go back to your clients every so often for more referrals. Take them to lunch once a year, perhaps on the anniversary of when you started doing business together. Just as you keep track of your conversations with prospects and clients about other issues, you should keep track of when you asked for referrals, what the response was, and the names you collected. When you are building your business from referrals, your relationship with clients must never end, because they are always meeting new people. Even long after you’ve served them, they can be advocates for you and your business. So keep in touch, and keep serving them any way you can.
Be a Referral Giver
Since building a referral-based business is not just a set of techniques but a mindset, you must become an expert at giving referrals. Serve your referral allies, your clients, and your friends as best you can by helping them with referrals as often as you can — not just by finding prospects for them, but by helping them meet people and businesses that will serve them, whatever their need. There is no better way to send the message that you work from referrals than to business the giving side of it. Let’s say you meet someone at a business event who might become a good referral alliance. The next time you get together, do whatever you can to serve him. Try to find a way to refer him to either a prospect or someone with a product or service that will help him solve a problem.
Practice the Golden Rule of Referral Giving
When you give referrals to other salespeople and entrepreneurs, make sure you give them in the way that you’d like to receive them. Let’s say you run into someone who might be a great prospect for one of your referral allies (or even a client).
Here are a few reminders on how to pass on this referral:
1. Get permission from the new prospect to give his or her name to your referral ally. This way your referral ally can be proactive and not have to wait for the prospect to call her.
2. Demonstrate enthusiasm to the prospect about who will be calling them. Tell the prospect how well this person has served others.
3. Upgrade the referral as much as you can. Have plenty of information to give to your referral alliance. Make certain to represent the information accurately.
4. Don’t sit on hot referrals. Pass them on as quickly as possible.
5. Don’t give the same referral to more than one or two referral alliances. If you do, make sure that all parties know.
When people ask me for referrals, I do my best to accommodate them. After I give them the names and numbers, I upgrade the referrals. Then I volunteer to warm up the prospects — to say good things about the salesperson before they call. Once someone has earned my trust and respect and has served me well, I do all I can to give him or her high-quality referrals.
If you want to receive high-quality referrals, you must give high-quality referrals.
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