4 Ways To Turn Referrals Into A Business Strategy

“Nothing influences more people than a referral from a trusted friend”
 – Mark Zuckerberg

We all want to grow our businesses and establish a quality of work to help bring in new clients. That’s why most of us spend a lot of time networking and building trust that will eventually provide referrals, endorsements, and future business.

The types of business relationships that produce quality referrals are not made through passive referrals – well, most of them aren’t anyway. We must have an understanding of the process; building trust in our network sets us up for quality referrals, in turn driving the wheels of business growth.

Back in 2003 I built Recruitment Central from scratch – we had zero clients on day one – we used the Yellow Pages and cold called from there. Whilst we continued with that method of cold calling and appointments it didn’t take long until our repeat customers were giving us referrals.

Here are 4 ways to turn referrals into effective marketing and sales tools to help grow your business:

  1. Ask: Too simple? Most of us simply don’t do it! Worried we’d look pushy, too “sale-sy” or lack in our own understanding of our process. The old adage “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” certainly rings true. Don’t be shy, bring the subject up naturally in conversation. In my industry, it could be – “do you know someone who struggles with recruiting or retaining staff”.

  2. Right time: I know I just told you to ask; but it’s important to ask at the right time. Find common ground, share a goal, and build a relationship founded on trust and authenticity. The perfect time usually comes after you’ve completed work for a client, or when it’s near completion.

  3. Clarify your desired referrals: Don’t waste the chance to make quality referrals in the future by failing to specify which type of clients you’d like to work with. Clients who’ll refer to you need to pinpoint in their minds which kind of people to talk to when they spread the word about your business. If they’re not completely sure or clear about it, they may not bring you up at all. I let my referral partners know they can say this: “If you find you get short on time doing recruitment like reading resumes, finding and interviewing people let me know; I use a fantastic recruiter who can do all that for you, they saved me so much time and the process was good value.”

  4. Make yourself easier to understand: A good way to get quality referrals is to send the right message to clients about what is it you do (really). Clearly identify the benefit you bring to their business. You’re not just out there to talk about your work. Focus on how it is you help other people solve the particular problem they have. Ensure your referral partners clearly understand that what you offer is the solution to a particular problem. Personally, I find stories of success your clients have had by using your service is the best way. In my industry most people have had some kind of interaction with employing new staff; sharing how we make that process 100 times easier with examples helps my referral network to visualise how I can help.

While all this is easier said (or written about!) than done. now is the perfect time to start practising.

Reach out to me for any tips and personal experiences and challenges that I’ve faced while converting referrals!

Readers also enjoyed: 3 Tips to Build a Professional Network

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