One of the very best prospecting methods is rarely utilized. Everyone knows they should be using it, but they don’t. That method is the referral. The people who know you and value what you do, know people who would benefit from buying from you.
If you want to be referred or introduced to your client’s network, here is a five point plan for getting referrals.
Ask Early for Permission to Ask Later: One of the very best ways to get more referrals is ask if you can ask later, after you’ve done the work to deserve the right to ask. This may strike you as counterintuitive, but by asking early, you make asking later easier—even though there is much more work to be done to make an ask to which your client can easily agree.
Explain the Value of the Referral: If referrals are valuable to you, then tell your client so. Share with them that it is one of the primary ways you grow your business, and that the clients that have referred you did so because they want their peers to have the same experience they have. It’s the “I gotta guy” thing.
Make Deposits in Excess of Your Withdraw: Between setting the stage and asking for the referral, you have to do the work necessary to have earned it. You must be high value, high trust, and high caring. You must be personally responsible for your client’s outcomes, cleaning up the messes along the way, and being always present. The reason people feel weird asking for referrals is because they are making an ask they don’t feel they deserve. Do the work to deserve it and make it easier.
Ask Directly: Ask your client to refer you to someone who would benefit from the value that you bring them. Note: Do not ask them for three, five, or eight referrals. If you want them to make an introduction by phone or by email, then ask for a real referral—not a list of names and phone numbers. You can ask again later, and you should not try to extract all the value from the relationship in a single sitting.
Protect Your Client: Your client worries that you are going to strong arm their peers or friends. They worry that you are going to hustle them, pressuring them for a deal. This makes your client uncomfortable, and it causes them to resist sharing their network with you. You make it easier when you promise to introduce yourself, share why you believe you might help them, and leave the door open for a future conversation. You need to tell them you will introduce yourself, and that you do not intend to pitch them. Instead, you want them to know you, should they need something in the future.
If you want more qualified, prospects who will value what you do, start asking for referrals from the people who love what you do, how you do it, and who will want their friends to buy from a person they know and trust.