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Here’s How I Grew Five Businesses, and Eventually Sold One to a Fortune 500 Company.
The Best Way to Grow Your Business in 2021: Getting Referrals
We all know that word of mouth is the best way to grow a business. When you receive a referral you will have little or no competition, you will be able to command a higher price, and your referral source will have done much of the selling for you.
Getting Referrals for Your Business
The fastest way to grow your business is, to begin with, people that you already know. People do business with those whom they know, like and trust. This will include people you have worked with in the past, friends, family and your current customers. On average, each one of us knows about 250 people. Among the people that you know are people who will refer business to you if you will only ask!
Consider these facts: 20% of the people that you know will give you referrals without you having to ask. 20% of the people that you know will never give you a referral no matter how many times you ask. However, 60% of the people will give you a referral if you ask in the right way.
Here’s the way to ask: “Who do you know who could benefit from my services?”
Below are some keys to getting referrals:
Develop your big list of people who can refer others to your business.
Write down every adult that you know on a list. Use the list of professions below to give you a reminder as you develop your list.
Develop your small list.
Prioritize your big list, and select 20 people that you want to focus on building deeper relationships with. The best sources of referrals are people that know, like and trust you. Select people who are centers of influence in your community. Develop a list and deepen relationships with them. Choose people that you will serve. The question is not “what can I get, but rather what can I give?” You will serve them by giving referrals, remembering important events like birthdays and anniversaries, sending books, thoughtful articles, etc.
Strategies to Deepen Business Relationships
- When you identify someone who could be a great referral source, meet with them one-on-one to deepen the relationship.
- At that point, keep asking questions and listen 2/3 of the time and talk about the benefits of your service or product 1/3 of the time.
- Ask “feel-good” questions. Be a good interviewer. Stay focused on them rather than talking about yourself.
- Listen well, affirm them and get their business card.
- Ask: “If I were to meet an ideal client for you, how would I recognize them?”
- Connect them with other people that are a good fit for them.
- Connect with them on Linkedin. Before you do that, make sure that your Linkedin profile is updated and features the benefits your service or product provides.
- Follow up with a thank-you note. Say that you will try to make referrals to them.
Begin speaking to everyone who is within 3 feet of you.
Follow the interviewing tips above to begin to develop the relationship.
Ask for referrals from everyone you meet
Especially from your small list. Educate your small list of your services and deepen your relationships with them.
Know that you will not likely get a referral the first time you ask.
You must be consistent and persistent to get referrals. Also, realize that getting to the first referral is the key with many people. It’s like priming a pump. Once you get the first referral, future referrals are likely to flow.
Educate everyone about what you do.
Don’t simply give a generic “commercial.” Use stories of working with clients to illustrate different aspects of your services.
Be generous in giving referrals.
Give generously and you will likely find other givers.
For business owners, learning the art of getting referrals may be the most important skill you can possess. Develop that skill and you will prosper!
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