Becoming a Referral Superstar: Asking For Referrals So You Actually RECEIVE Referrals!! (Part 2 of 2)

by Sabrina Risley

Last month, I shared Part One on how to become a Referral Superstar, so you can build a referral network that actually delivers referrals. I shared WHY you want to use referrals to build your business, WHO your potential referral partners are, and asked you to be specific in WHAT you are looking for in a referral.

If you’ve completed your “homework,” you are now ready to move on.  If not, be sure to Read Part One first.  Referral Superstars, let’s talk about WHEN and HOW to ask for referrals.

W #4 = When

Once you know who to ask and you’ve identified what to specifically ask for, knowing when to ask is crucial. Asking a contact too soon can feel like asking someone to marry you on a first date.

It’s never too late to ask for referrals once you’ve:

  • Established rapport,
  • Formed a trusting relationship,
  • Ensured them you will take care any contacts they send your way.

A great time to ask for referrals is right after you’ve successfully completed work and you’ve delivered excellent customer service resulting in a very satisfied customer. This customer is in a state of gratitude and appreciation for the work you’ve completed for them and they are ready to share that experience with others. For example, as an insurance agent, you just wrote a new policy for a client and saved them $200 per year. This is the perfect time to ASK for a referral!

Within your network and circle of influence, when to ask can be a little tricky. As we’ve said before, asking too soon can be damaging to the relationship. Most people need to see or hear from you an average of 7 to 9 times before they feel confident and comfortable with you and your products or services. To speed up rapport building and trust, make a habit of reaching out to your contacts consistently. Create a plan of contact.

If in doubt, wait it out. Consider the number of quality “touches” you’ve made with this person, if it’s less than five, enlist a few more measures to ensure you are establishing rapport, trust, and confidence. Perhaps you can pick up the phone and ask what they most need right now, take them to coffee or have lunch after a networking event, or even send a referral or connection their way. Individuals with Bob Burg’s Go-Giver® mentality receive the most.

How:

Once you know who your referral sources are, you’ve identified what a good prospect looks like and you know when to ask, you are ready to actually ask for the referral. Asking for referrals can be intimidating, but if you’ve followed the instructions on when to ask, your request will be well-received.

Here is how to phrase the question.

  • Start by asking an open ended question. Instead of asking “Do you know anyone?” ask, “Who do you know?”
  • To increase your chance of receiving referrals, use the specifics about what your ideal referral looks like. The more general you are, the harder it is for people to recall someone in need of your service. However, if you ask for a specific referral like, “Who do you know that is currently looking to move out of state and sell their home?” people can more readily pinpoint who in their network fits into that specific scenario.

Here are a few more examples to consider:

Realtor: “Who do you know in your wine club that is getting ready to retire within the next two years?”

Marketing:  “Who do you know in Littelton that is struggling to build their business using online marketing strategies?”

Financial Planner: “Who do you know in the Denver metro area that is a higher level executive and recently switched companies?” (You see, they might need their 401k managed).

Here’s another example of how to ask for referrals.  In his book, Endless ReferralsBob Burg suggests, “Anne, I’m in the process of expanding my referral business, and I find it’s helpful to partner with my clients and friends such as you. Could we take a few quick minutes to run past the names of some people I might also be able to help?”

Practice asking for referrals and find the words that work for you. But simply asking for referrals sets you apart from 90% of the professionals within your industry.  All you need to do is follow the Why, Who, What, When and How, and you’ll soon become a Referral Superstar.

For related reading, see also our Janauary 2011 post, The Most Important Factor to Receiving Referrals = YOU!

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.

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Becoming a Referral Superstar: Asking For Referrals So You Actually RECEIVE Referrals!! (Part 1 of 2)

by Sabrina Risley

We all had grandiose visions of opening our business, kicking our feet up on the desk, and answering incoming calls and demands for our widgets.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it happens. However, when you become a Referral Superstar, your phone begins to ring and you soon get more qualified, ready-to-buy prospects knocking at your door.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading two books pertaining to referrals: The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton and Endless Referrals by Bob Burg. I consistently use both as reference tools. What I learned from both books is that to become a Referral Superstar, first you need to know how to build a referral network so that you actually receive referrals. In this case, you need to answer Why, Who, What, and When so you can get to the HOW. 

W #1 = Why

You might be asking yourself, “If I do a good job, won’t I just GET referrals?” It’s possible, but by asking for referrals, you greatly increase the chances of receiving referrals, and you most certainly receive them more quickly. Asking for referrals isn’t selfish. It’s about giving and passing along valuable resources. People love to connect and they love to help. When they refer someone, they know they are being of service by making the connection. When you give people the opportunity to help, they will.

Additionally, referrals are the BEST source for new customers, as prospects are more likely to believe what others say about you than what you tell them about yourself. There is nothing more prized than having the opportunity to meet someone based on the strong recommendation from their friend or associate. Referrals come to you already trusting in who you are and what you offer. You are already on the pedestal, placed there by the referring party.  With each new referral turning into new business, it leads to more opportunity to grow and expand your network of referral based clients!

W #2 = Who

The Rule of 250 states that you have at least 250 contacts in your circle of influence.  It further states that each of your 250 contacts has a circle of influence of 250 as well.  Wow… that’s more than 62,000 people at your fingertips!!  Doesn’t it make sense then to say that your 250 contacts know people who need your products/service?

The first step is to explore your existing network to identify the best people from whom you can ask for referrals. These could include: satisfied current and previous customers; raving fans and champions; those with whom you have a trusted relationship; friends; family; contacts with whom you have sufficiently established a know, like, trust factor, or rapport and connection. When it comes to building a referral based business, your network is your lifeline.

W #3 = What

Once you identify who to ask, begin identifying exactly what you are asking for. What does a good referral look like?  Saying that “anyone and everyone is a good referral” ensures you’ll get referred to no one. It’s best to narrow down to specifics as it helps your contacts know who to refer to you. The more specific and focused you are, the more likely you are to get a referral.

Be specific and determine what you are asking from your referral source.

  • Geography: In which geographic area do you prefer to work? Even if you can work nationwide, it’s best to narrow the geographic region so you referral source can actually imagine prospects for you in that specific area. This doesn’t mean you won’t receive referrals or business outside that area. This is about narrowing the focus for your referral source.
  • Focus on a Product or Service: What is your core or primary focus of the products or services you offer? You can also view this from the perspective of offering the most well-received product/service available and lead with that. Again, narrowing the focus for your referral source.
  • Type of Client or Person: What are the specifics about your ideal client/referral? Are they in a specific age or income range? What type of person, or what situation or circumstances define the person who best fits the products or services for which you are seeking a referral? Are they retirees? Families with young children? Being specific here further helps in receiving referrals.

By following these first 3 W’s, you are well on your way to growing your business through referrals. Spend some time this month identifying your who (referral partners) and your what (specifics), so you are ready for part two of this article, which includes WHEN and HOW to ask for referrals.

“When we seek help, people are there to help.  But you have to take the first step and ask for it. ”
~ Angie Ridings

For related reading, see also our Janauary 2011 post, The Most Important Factor to Receiving Referrals = YOU!

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.

Reduce the Sales Cycle Through Sensational Service!

By Sabrina Risley

Here’s the scene: You are at a networking event, excited at the thought of meeting new prospects.  You connect with another professional who could possibly introduce you to a plethora of qualified leads.  You shake hands.  Exchange business cards.  Promise to call.  You breathe in a sigh of relief and think, “My work here is done… this is exactly what I came here for!”   As the event goes on, you meet a few more like-minded folks.  You can’t wait to get back to the office to schedule appointments with them.

However the scene is anything but peaceful and serene when you return to your office.  There are voicemails to return, emails to answer, a proposal to complete, paperwork to file, and oh yeah – when was the last time you posted on Facebook?   Before you know it, a few hours go by and the day is done.  Two days are done, and then three days, and four.  Pretty soon, you  can barely remember who you wanted to follow up with and why, let alone find where you put their business card!

And just like that, it happens… time passes and urgency diminishes, you lose the excitement as well as a golden opportunity for creating a collaborative partnership with a new connection.  You’ve lost the opportunity to capitalize on a meaningful encounter and actually building your business through referrals.

You’ve likely heard it mentioned, “The fortune is in the follow up.”  Follow up and follow through is a necessity!  It’s like wanting to pitch a baseball but dropping the ball during the windup.  Following through with new connections is critical if you want to pitch within the strike zone.  It’s an absolute necessity to build real and genuine connections that flourish into mutually beneficial  relationships where referrals and contacts are safely shared between both parties.  It takes trust which you can build and earn through consistent and regular follow-up.

But who has time to follow up?  About 1% of the population actually makes it a priority to follow up with a new connection within 48 hours.  For the remaining 99% of the population, we have every intention of following up but don’t make the time to do so or don’t have a good follow up system.

To be successful at following up, you need a plan, you need a system and you need to follow it!

Good follow up includes consistent and meaningful encounters.  It means people see you, hear from you and have the opportunity to talk to you on a regular basis.  The more often you have meaningful encounters with your contacts, the greater the opportunity to build trusting relationships.  Meaningful encounters can include an emailed or mailed newsletter, mailing or emailing a link to an article they might find interesting, acknowledging birthdays and special occasions with a phone call, card or social media post, remembering and asking about previous conversations you’ve had with them, initiating introductions so they can meet needed resources, sending referrals and leads, inviting them to an event they might like to attend with you, and the list can go on.

Now, let me clarify – I’m not suggesting you “stalk” your contacts.  I’m simply recommending you follow up with and take the time to get to know new contacts, enabling you the ability to really add value, serve and give in a way that is meaningful to them.  Regardless of how detailed and sensational your follow up plan is, be forewarned that relationship building doesn’t happen overnight.

Just remember… it’s a little give, and it’s a little take and it’s a whole lot of follow through that leads to success in the end.

For guidelines, tools and ideas to create and implement a simple follow up plan that you can maintain on a consistent basis, check out BTM’s SERVICE TO SENSATIONAL.  SAVE $40 if you order by September 30, 2011.

(c) 2011 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

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