Smart entrepreneurs know how to build good habits for their business and many have managed to build successful businesses almost solely on referrals. You may have heard the story about how a successful entrepreneur became so good at asking for his referrals. As the story goes, when he was an eager young sales apprentice, his manager trained him well. Every time he glanced at his watch, which he did often in his zeal to stay on schedule, it meant it was time to ask for a referral. Eventually, it became second nature. He was building his smartest business habit.
Below are more easy ways to start developing good referral-building habits:
When you begin working with a new customer, make referrals part of your initial agreement. “If I do a great job for you–and I will–you agree to give me X number of referrals.” Chances are your customer will be impressed by your dedication and drive.
Whenever a customer compliments you, respond with a thank you, quickly followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?”
Use every client meeting as an opportunity to collect referrals. To keep yourself on track, jot a reminder down in your meeting preparation notes. Make it one of your standard talking points.
Set a weekly goal for yourself. Keep track of the number of referrals you ask for each day. You don’t need to limit your requests to clients; you can also ask business associates, acquaintances and prospects.
Make the most of every networking opportunity. Step out of your comfort zone at networking events and set a goal to talk to at least three new people. Plan in advance what you might say. We’re all drawn to interesting, enthusiastic people.
Always be specific when asking for a referral. Looking for high net worth individuals? Say so. Interested in midsize companies? Let them know. If you don’t tell your contacts who your target customer is, you’ll waste time pursuing leads you can’t use.