In my mind, recommendations and referrals can be a bit like match making.
Really powerful and well-matched recommendations can result in really strong relationships.
But here is the problem.
People won’t simply recommend your services because they had an excellent servce. Some people will but the great majority won’t.
Sad but true.
Most people are so busy that you really need to be explicit about what you want – stating exactly who, where and how they can recommend people to you. Nothing is going to happen without this level of clarity.
In addition to recommending you because they had a great service, people also give referrals because they want to help a friend or colleague in need. Its not only about you and helping you get new clients. Its also about helping their friends or colleagues who might need your services or products. This makes them feel good and generated goodwill.
So really, its in everybody’s interest that referrals and recommendation lead to solid, valuable relationships.
To help people recommend your services, you need to clarify exactly who you want them to refer to you. Its not enough to simply say that “if you know anyone who needs my services then send them my way”. There is a myth that all you have to do to get more referrals is to ask for them, or to give your clients monetary incentives to refer people. Read this article to find out they don’t work so well.
To get your clients and customers to refer and recommend you, then you have to let them know exactly who they should send your way and how they can do that. This makes it easy for them to identify people in their circle that fit the bill.
Exactly how do you do this without feeling like a sales man?
Let me tell you about my “event strategy” for getting more referrals
What I’ve found to be most effective is to invite clients to special events (online or offline) and then ask them to extend invitations to their network and people who might find the event useful too.
The picture is from my last Kick Start Growth Event. You can get your early bird ticket now… 🙂
These can be free or paid events. It all depends on the perceived value and the offer. This will work well for both service and product based businesses. You can organise an open day, private client VIP events, private viewing, private demonstrations etc. Just be creative and think what people might want to “get in” on.
The great thing about this strategy is that it gives you a reason to contact other people in your network – not just current and past clients.
It also introduces urgency into the equation. Most people don’t act unless there is a deadline or risk of missing out on an opportunity. An event naturally come with all these inbuilt triggers.
I love the event strategy because it puts you in control and its more proactive than just hoping that people will refer you.
Of course you can give incentives but in my humble opinion it all works better with my “event strategy” for getting more referrals. Try it and let me know how you get on.
Next week, I’ll write about another way of getting referrals. It takes more effort but it can keep help your generate referrals for a long time. Stay tuned.
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