You’ve heard it said, “Ask and you shall receive.” This is NEVER truer then when it comes to asking for referrals. Many service professionals are hesitant to do this for a number of reasons. It might be because you are afraid of “bothering” the person you’re speaking to, because you’re worried about what they might think of you, or (gasp), because they may say no.
If that sounds familiar, I want you to think for a moment about how you would feel if someone were to ask you for a referral. If you know, like, and trust the person you’re speaking to and feel confident in their work, what would you think about them asking you for a referral to someone in your network that needed the exact solution they offer? Likely you would be happy to make an introduction. This is because you want your friends, family members and colleagues to find solutions to the challenges they face. So, it stands to reason that people YOU ask for referrals will feel the same.
Here are my easy tips for encouraging others to send you referrals, even if you’ve never asked for one before:
- Get comfortable with asking for referrals.
This means getting out of your own way. Please stop worrying about what people might think. Instead, focus your energy on the fact that you have a highly valuable solution to offer and that you are looking to connect with and help as many people as possible. Remember, marketing is simply a matter of sharing solutions with people who are already looking for them. When you approach asking for referrals from a place of giving, where you are offering to help someone else with a challenge they are facing, you’ll feel more comfortable and the conversation will be highly effective.
- Who do you ask?
Start with the individuals in your network that you are most comfortable with, who are well connected and who are interested in seeing you succeed. Also include friends and family members. Be sure to clearly explain to them exactly who you are looking to work with (your ideal client) and what exactly your clients will gain from working with you (the transformation that takes place). Also ask past and present clients for their support. “Birds of a feather flock together,” so it’s likely that they know other people who are looking for the same solutions they came to you for.
- How to ask for referrals.
Don’t plan out your words too carefully – they should naturally fit into the conversations you have with your customers. Simply ask them if they know anyone else who could benefit from what you do, and ask them to mention you to those people. That’s all you have to do to start the ball rolling. The first few times that you ask for referrals may feel awkward to you, but soon it will become second nature. I recently asked a past client who else he knew personally that was looking to connect with ideal prospects online and enroll more clients into their practice (just like we’d done for him). He thought about it and promptly introduced me to five of his contacts!
If you do ask for a referral and the person doesn’t have someone in mind right then, what have you lost? Absolutely nothing! They have simply been given a reminder about who you serve and what you do for them. If you ask for a referral and they do have people in mind that could benefit from working with you, what will you lose? You’ll only lose the feeling of wondering where your next client is coming from. Either way, you have nothing to lose. Go for it! Reach out to your network and ask for their support in connecting you with ideal prospects who are already looking for your solutions.
Have you found a great new client through a referral? Brag about it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your success!
YOUR ACTION PLAN FOR THIS WEEK:
- Commit to taking action in spite of any fear you may have of asking for referrals. If you’ve never asked for them because you were afraid that you wouldn’t get them, choose to not focus your attention there. You have far more to gain by asking. Don’t let yourself be held back by fear.
- Begin asking for referrals of people who may be in need of your services. Don’t spend a lot of time “preparing” (i.e. over thinking) – just do it.
- Incorporate your referral request into your regular client dealings. This includes asking for referrals when a client shares with you how they are benefiting from your work or once you’ve crossed a significant milestone.