I mean, of course you continue to maintain those relationships that you worked so hard to build, but there is more that you can do to help expand your customer base and generate more leads.
Ask for referrals.
It sounds like a simple thing to do, but a study from the Dale Carnegie Institute reported that while 91% of customers say that they would happily give referrals, only 11% of salespeople actually ask for them.
Asking for referrals is just another way for you to make more connections for your business and making those connections with people and building strong relationships are how businesses grow and continue to move forward.
So how exactly do you work asking for a referral into a conversation to make it sound au naturel instead of très scripted?
5 ways you can make your referral process more authentic:
Draw from your own experiences.
Think about how you have liked or disliked people’s approaches in the past when asking you for a similar favour. Note the approaches that you found most effective and move forward only with the ideas that feel the most genuine to you.
Get used to it.
Practice your specific ask and find ways for you to work it into normal conversations. When you are able to make it a habit during client meetings, when a customer compliments your services, or at networking events, it can help you open doors to more opportunities.
Be specific about what you’re looking for.
Instead of grasping at straws for anyone you can get your hands on, be strategic with the ask. If you’re looking for a CEO of a large company or you’re looking for decision makers at small businesses, let your customer know what you are seeking. This will show your customers how prepared and well-researched you are and help you to bring in specific leads that are part of your target market.
Practice what you preach.
If you are looking for others to connect you with their contacts and refer your services to them, then you should be doing the same for others. This is a little something called networking, and can really help to encourage positive word of mouth about you.
Say ‘Thank You!’
I cannot stress this enough! Whether you send an email, a personalized hand-written note, or you take that customer out for lunch, make sure you show your appreciation for the effort they have made to help you succeed.
Let’s be honest, hearing the word ‘no’ when asking a customer for a favour can be mildly terrifying, but it’s important to take that awkward encounter as a piece of constructive feedback based on your efforts.
That’s what makes hearing ‘yes’ all the more worthwhile.
It’s a direct justification that the blood, sweat, and tears you have put in to make magic happen within that relationship did not go unnoticed. In fact, your customers noticed and they appreciated your efforts.
In return, they agree to help you expand your customer base with trusted colleagues of their own. That’s huge! That means that not only do they enjoy doing business with you, but they trust you enough to put their name on the line to help you. Do not take this lightly!
Now, all you have to do is ask!