Business referrals are a modern component of sales and marketing. You might think, “Wait a second. What about word of mouth? That’s been around for years.” Truth be told, word-of-mouth is not a referral. While the general definition of a referral is telling someone about a product, service, consultation, or another action, a true referral is someone directly connecting you to another person. This could be an introduction through an email, a phone call, or, of course, a conversation in person.
It seems that referrals continue to gain popularity as people recognize the value of holistic, transformational selling™. The reason being? Business referrals are one of the most impactful ways to grow your company.
According to Social Media Today, “78% of B2B marketers say that referral programs generate good or excellent leads,” and “Marketers rate referrals as the 2nd-highest source of quality leads.”
Quality is better than quantity. Would you rather have three warm leads who are excited to work with you, or 14 leads where one person might work with you and the rest leave you in radio silence? It’s a no-brainer — you want the three warm, excited leads.
Now that you know referrals may be the key to growing your business, you might ask, “How do I start?” In the latest Transformational Selling™ Podcast episode, Stacey Brown Randall (author and business creator) shares insight into how she finds success with referrals.
You can click the link to listen to the episode or continue reading to learn how to approach referrals from a Transformational Selling™ mindset.
Build a Solid Foundation
Think of approaching a referral like how you would a sales proposal. For proposals, you don’t bluntly state your offer right away out in the open; you get to know the person. This is the same for referrals. You don’t ask for a referral as soon as the client agrees to work with you. This is transactional and pushy, which may give your client the wrong idea, and I can bet you’ll hear, “No,” when you ask for one.
Take the time to build a deeper relationship with your client. What does this look like? It’s as simple as practicing proper customer care and checking in with your client, not just about how your offer is serving them, but about their personal life too. You shouldn’t only engage from a brand standpoint, but a value standpoint too. For example, if you’re both bookworms, start a conversation about the books you’re currently reading and recommend them a title!
Ask When Excitement is Ripe
Asking for a referral at the right time is crucial. While I said above you don’t want to jump the gun and ask right away, you should ask in a timeframe where your new client is freshly excited about your offer and how it’s changing their life. If you bring up a referral a year from when they enrolled, they’ll still find your offer valuable, but they may not possess the same fervor to recommend you to friends and colleagues. There is also the potential that they may no longer be a client of yours, meaning you missed a referral opportunity. Approach a referral during a sweet spot where the client is comfortable, you’ve worked to build a deeper relationship, and you can bring it up organically in a conversation. To find even more success when asking, ensure you make them the hero. Yes, you will be the person to help the colleague they refer you to, but your client is actually the one helping them, as they’re connecting you two. Never present yourself as the focus. Make the request surround the client and how they will help their friends and colleagues.
Go Above and Beyond
This tip ties into building a solid foundation. Doing more than following-up through an email or phone call will make you more memorable. Putting in the extra effort of different gestures can show your client that you’re empathetic and truly care, that it’s not just about the business for you. For example, if you’re an author, send them a free copy of your book. Or if you’re both attending the same conference, take them out for lunch or dinner. It doesn’t have to be these examples though. You can get creative. Think about how you would go above and beyond for a client and put it into practice. These practices will help you build a deeper relationship with your client, making them more likely to refer you.
Analyze Your Top Referral Sources
If you’ve gotten referrals in the past, it can be efficient to analyze who they were from and which platforms were used. You can then review your mannerisms, methods, and conversations, and what made those clients eager to refer you. What did you do well? Which language did you use? Which action did you take to go above and beyond a business level? When you discover the answers to these questions, you can replicate your process to find greater business referral success.
Being grateful aligns with going above and beyond, but it’s more about expressing your gratitude in conversation. Sure, you can show you’re grateful through grand gestures, but dialogue can pack a punch. Be open and honest with your client about how grateful you are to have the opportunity to know them and work with them. Maybe even share your favourite memories, like how you met or a funny incident that happened at a past conference. You can then go on to say how they’ve transformed your life from knowing them. Remember, it’s always about them, not you.
Achieve Transformational Referrals
Transformational Selling™ is all about retaining and growing your business, deepening client relationships, and selling with integrity. These core elements can be applied to your business referral practices too.
- Retain and grow your business: not only will you retain business by continuing holistic conversations with your clients, but by asking for business referrals the right way, you can expand your business too.
- Deepening client relationships: approaching referrals from a transformational selling mindset, you will use empathy and go above and beyond for your client, deepening that relationship’s trust.
- Selling with integrity: you need to approach referrals with integrity too. When approaching referrals, never be pushy or forceful. Build up the relationship, approach a referral naturally in a conversation, and present your client as the hero.
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I can’t wait to hear from you and the stories you’ll share because you’ve chosen to become a Transformational Seller!