It’s an old adage of business: your net worth is your network. No matter what industry you operate in, from finance to entertainment to manufacturing, the more clients you serve successfully the greater are your chances for growth and success. One fantastic way to expand your client network is through the proper use of referrals.
Many small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs miss out on opportunities because they simply never ask for referrals. Sometimes we assume that our clients will naturally think of referring us simply because they are satisfied with the service we render, while at other times it may seem awkward or a little forward to ask for a referral.
In order to use referrals successfully as a tool for growing your business, you will need to know when and how to request them.
When to ask for a referral
The perfect time to ask a client to refer you is when he or she has just given you some very positive feedback. Because your client has enjoyed a positive experience dealing with you, and especially if you have rendered better service than the client has experienced in the past, asking for a referral is simple. By referring you to their colleagues, your client will be saving other businesses from experiencing bad service and will be assured of excellent service from you in the future.
When not to ask for a referral
Avoid asking for referrals at busy times, directly after a disagreement or somewhat negative experience, and particularly when you present your client with a bill. These are stressful moments when your clients may be less likely to co-operate.
How to ask for a referral
Many of us struggle to ask for referrals, fearing that we will come across sounding like salesmen or that we may cause our clients to feel uncomfortable. Once you have enjoyed a positive experience, ask your client to pass your name on if they happen to know of anyone who is in need of your services. Remember, the worst that can happen is that the client says no – and there is not much to fear from one of the shortest words in the English language!