Referrals are the lifelines of many businesses. It is a way where things are moving, “even while you are resting.”

It’s great to get a few partners who will help you achieve these small conquests, so how do you make sure you are employing the best method? Here are the most basic steps.

Develop a system

The most important step in the referral process is making sure that asking for referrals isn’t just an afterthought, but something that’s built into your sales cycle. For example, you may want to ask for a referral when you are invoicing the client for completing the job, or do it later as part of your post-sale follow-up. Orient everyone in your organisation about how to systematise your referral process – where to look and go, whom to approach, what to tell a potential customer, and how to get this new prospect actually availing of your products and services. Make it a top-to-bottom system, leaving no bases uncovered.

Let everyone know that you are searching for new referral

You may know you need referrals – but does everyone else know? Some clients or associates may want to refer you, but are afraid you might not be as enthusiastic about walk-ins or random people coming in (some businesses actually don’t like it, believe it or not!), so telling them that you need new referrals by word-of-mouth, through your website, your blogs, your marketing collaterals or however else is always an excellent idea.

Teach your customers how to refer you

This is the biggest improvement you can make in your referral campaigning. Many clients would be happy to refer you, but don’t know how to succinctly present you and your service to others. Solve that by giving them guidelines on:

  • What your ideal customer is like
  • What products and services you offer
  • How your business stands out from the others
  • How you plan to reward them for giving you referrals

Follow up in a timely fashion.

The biggest mistake small business owners make with referrals (besides not asking for them) is getting them and then not following up. Build a timeline into your system so that you follow up within two weeks of getting the referral. Otherwise, the prospect could forget about you, could buy what you sell somewhere else or could simply turn from a hot lead into a cold case.