Building your business through referrals – expert advice from Vic Williams at The Audacious CompanyClick here to view the transcript
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, professionals and sales people shy away from this source of business and as a result have to resort to expensive and generally ineffective methods like newspaper and television advertising, cold calling, and mail shots.
That fact is that every new client you acquire and every client you have in your data base will know people you currently don’t know and if you don’t ask your clients for these referrals, some else will. You will have put in all the effort to offer your client great service or a great product and by not asking the right questions at the right time, you are literally leaving half the dinner on the table.
‘Word of mouth’ advertising, that is, anticipating that your client will pass on your details to their contacts works but you must remember that your clients have many other things on their minds other than helping you to build your business. This means that it is most often as ineffective as newspaper or television advertising.
Building your business or practice or providing you with referrals is generally not high on your client’s agenda. It not necessarily that they don’t want to help you, but rather that it very rarely enters their minds, unless of course you ask.
There are 3 main reasons why most people don’t ask for referrals:
Firstly, most people are afraid the answer will be no.
Secondly they think asking for referrals will make them appear unprofessional
Third, they don’t know how to ask in a manner that receives a positive response
The fact is it is not the asking for referrals that reveals a lack of professionalism, but rather the manner of asking. The planning of when and how you will ask should be a large part of you preparation for meeting with any client.
If you know what you are going to say and how you are going lead into the question, the rest is easy.
You see, we should not be looking to close a sale or a deal, rather we should be looking to open a relationship. Even if the product or service we offer is a single need or once off deal.
Here is what we know. Most business is done with the people we know, like and trust. If you have delivered great service or a great product and you have met and exceeded your client’s expectations, they will generally, when asked correctly and at the appropriate time, provide you with the referrals you have asked for.
Now lets be honest. What is the worst thing that can happen after you have asked?
They say no. That’s all. They have not rejected you. They have said no.
So don’t let any of these reason mentioned prevent you from accessing the best and cheapest source of new business.