By Mark Creedon
Developing a successful referral system
Referrals are the most unbelievably cost-effective way of developing a business.
While your competitors spend enormous amounts of money on hit or miss advertising campaigns, you can be engaging in phenomenal growth by simply asking existing clients, alliances, associates, friends, etc, to refer business to you.
One of the most interesting experiences I had in the development of my own business was that clients were continually telling me that they were very happy with the services that I provided.
I had helped them grow their businesses, and that they found my assistance invaluable, but yet they were not referring clients to me.
The answer, in fact, turned out to be quite straightforward and that is that I simply hadn’t asked them to!
One of the golden rules in developing a “knockout” referral system is to specifically ask your clients, friends, associates or alliances to actually refer business to you and you’ll find that once you ask for those referrals then they will quite readily and freely come to you.
There are some other important rules to be considered when developing a successful referral system.
You must keep in mind that if someone is prepared to refer their client or contact to you then have regard to the fact that it’s not only your reputation that comes into the mix but it is also their reputation as well.
Personally, I am very careful about the referrals that I make.
It’s important to recognise that asking someone to refer business to you is not just a casual exchange of information but that it’s also a situation that requires a huge amount of trust and that in itself requires a great deal of respect.
Another important rule to remember is to offer an incentive for your referrals and to make sure that there is a clearly defined reward system in place.
Take into consideration that rewards don’t always have to be monetary or percentage based.
Your reward or incentive could actually be as simple as saying “thank you”.
Your knockout tips:
- Ask for referrals
- Understand that it is not only your reputation that can be effected by not delivering on your word but theirs also.
- There must be trust and respect by both partners
- Offer an incentive
- Always say Thank-you
When considering referrals in terms of a cost benefit analysis, remember that it is far more cost effective than a hit or miss advertising campaign.
A referral will in fact make you substantially more than any reward which you may offer to people who refer business to you.
So, for example, you might say to a client or customer if you refer someone to me then you’ll get a discount off your next purchase or you’ll get a free gift or something else that creates a genuine incentive for them to refer business across to you.
As previously mentioned you must show respect to referral partners by respecting their customers and delivering exceptional customer service and a quality product to them.
You are in the business to not only make a profit but to also help others achieve their goals.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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