It’s a fact. We all like doing business with people we know and trust. In turn, we are also more likely to engage the services of someone that has been recommended to us. Although referrals are a really strong option for building your brilliant brand, many shy away from asking for them directly. And so they should!
There is a very fine line between asking for referrals – and potentially damaging a valuable relationship – and triggering referrals. Google ‘getting referrals’ and many sites will show you hard core tips and tricks for getting someone to open up their contacts diary for you to dip in to. We believe the reality is somewhat different. First up, your contact has their own life to get on with and recommending you isn’t their top priority. Secondly, even if your client has received an excellent service they may be nervous of recommending you in case their contact doesn’t receive the same excellent experience. They then put their valuable relationship at risk, or at least make things uncomfortable for a while.
So how do you trigger referrals rather than blatantly ask for them? The easiest way is to ask for a testimonial from your client for you to use in your marketing materials. They aren’t directly recommending you to an associate but, if they are willing to endorse your activity publicly, it is likely to trigger others in their network to take notice.
Alternatively, provide something of real value that is related to your area of expertise to your client and let them know that if they like it and would like more to pass to their associates you would be happy to oblige. A good example is a publication with valuable insights into your industry. Provide this to your client or contact and if they appreciate its value, they will be more likely to pass it on or request more to share with their network. You’ve removed the awkward, direct sales pitch and fostered goodwill.