Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Referral Killers

Here are 5 surefire ways to kill (or at least diminish) your chances for getting referrals from prospects, clients, and Centers of Influence. If you have been following my work for some time, you have probably already heard me address these issues in one form or another. I hope you find this issue to be a very helpful reminder.

Not Being Referable

We have to start here. You will never get referrals from anybody if you're not referable in their eyes. It is a big mistake to assuming referability. Just because someone knows you and likes you, doesn't mean they will give you referrals. Just because someone understands the value you bring, doesn't mean they will refer you. 
The three key elements of referability are Value, Trust, and Likeability. People will only give you referrals if they understand your value proposition, trust how you will handle the people they refer to you, and like you. Remove one of those factors and referability goes down dramatically - practically to zero. 
Become a master at articulating your value. (Checkout the work of Leo Pusateri:www.PusateriConsulting.comTeach your prospects and clients that you handle referrals with great care and confidentiality. Build business friendships. Build relationships that go beyond the core reason that brought you together in the first place.

Just Looking to Make the Sale

It is very rare for a product to make you referable. Okay, there are exceptions to this rule, but you are always better off making the referral about the value of your process and/or your client-service promise.
This is why you must always think in terms of "leading with value." Make every appointment with every prospect and client about bringing more value. You see, if you just try to make the sale, you will certainly make some sales. However, you will be doing it in a way that doesn't make you referable right away. It can take years to become referable in a transactionally-based business. 
When you lead with value, not only do you make the sale, you do so in a way that builds referability quickly in a new relationship.

Making Referrals All About You

Whenever you talk to people about referrals, is the conversation about you or about the people you want to help? Do you say things like, "I'm trying to build my business and I can use your help" or "I build my business with referrals"?
Instead, make getting referrals about the value you bring to others through the products, services, and relationships.
Try saying, "Let's identify some people you care about who might value the type of work I do." Or, "Let's bring this important work I do to others."
If you believe in the work you do, how can you not want to bring your value to others (through referrals)? And when you come from a place of service to others, you are always on safe ground.

Not Coming Prepared

One of the least effective ways to ask for referrals is to leave it all up to your prospects and clients to figure out who they might introduce to you. It is much more effective to make the referral conversation a collaborative process - a brainstorming session.
From the minute you meet a prospect, start to pay attention to who they know. Be genuinely curious about others and with whom they are connected. Even in a short period time, you can often identify several candidates for introductions. You should always be prepared to suggest various categories of people for whom do you valuable work. I call them "trigger questions" such as people changing jobs, buying a home, etc, and "money-in-motion questions" such as a divorce settlement or inheritance.
Coming prepared for this conversation will do two things:
  1. You will feel more confident in your request when you know where you want the conversation to go.
  2. Your conversation will be more productive.
Instead of them drawing a blank and saying, "Let me give it some thought," you can say, I've identified a few people for whom I believe I can be an important resource, and I'd like to run them by you to see if you would be willing to put in good word for me.

Busting Referral T.R.U.S.T.

Once someone gives you a referral, how you receive that referral will either increase or decrease the chances of getting more referrals from that source. Here are five habits you must establish to ensure you increase the likelihood of getting more referrals:
T - Treat the new prospect like royalty. Whether they become a client or not, you want your referral source to receive positive feedback about you.
R- Respond immediately to referrals. Referrals have a short shelf-life. When someone gives you a referral, they expect you to act on it quickly.
U - Update your referral source along the way. Let them know that you are following the referral to its logical conclusion.
S - Say "thank you" to the referral source. Send a handwritten note. Send a small give if you feel inclined and your compliance department says it's okay.
T - Get the new client to thank the referral source. It is great for you to thank the source, but when your new client thanks them, that builds Referral T.R.U.S.T.
Remember, for people to give you referrals, they have to understand your value proposition, trust how you will handle the referrals they send your way and like you.






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