This post originally appeared on CoffeeBreakUniversity.com
It’s no secret that referrals are the key to building a highly successful professional services practice. What’s so surprising is just how many business owners and marketing professionals know how important referrals are yet fail to put a detailed system into place for building and maintaining referral engine. At the Power Practice Network, our goal is to provide you with all of the information you need to get your own referral system off the ground. Let’s get the ball rolling with first things first by discussing how to create an expectation for referrals amongst your existing professional network.
People Love to Give Referrals
If you are a little new to taking an active role in generating referrals for your practice, the first thing to understand is that there is no reason to feel self-conscious about asking your contacts to spread the word about your business. Just like everybody loves sharing a great restaurant or new book with their friends, most professionals love to give referrals for services that have made their lives easier.
When you are clearly delivering positive results for members of your current professional network, simply explain to them that you are in the process of expanding your business and ask them to provide you with a few referrals down the road. It’s important not to muddle your request here, though. Be clear that you are asking them to refer friends and associates to you and ensure that they have understood what you are asking of them.
Do Your Contacts REALLY Know What You Do?
Even the best of us miss the boat on this one occasionally because it is so easy to assume that everybody you’ve worked with understands what you actually do for a living. The truth is that very few of your contacts probably know much about your services other than what they have experienced first hand. As an experiment, ask a half dozen of top associates or clients how they would describe your business to a potential client. Unless your brand messaging is already airtight, the chances are that you’re going to have some ‘splaining to do, Lucy.
Follow Up with Promising Referral Sources
After you’ve put down some solid groundwork and have finally seen your efforts begin to start generating some new referrals, you’ll probably find that a couple of your most promising contacts don’t seem to coming through. Rather than letting the matter slip away, take a moment to follow up with these contacts and find out what happened. Rather than feeling as if you’re shaking down your friends, you’ll nearly always find that there is something that you can do on your end to remedy the situation.