Building referrals can be revolutionary for your business. Referrals gives you the opportunity to reach more potential clients you may not have been able to reach any other way. In this snippet from an interview between Dale Beaumont and Paul Hanna, find Paul’s top ten tips for building referrals.
Paul Hanna is regarded as one of Australia’s leading motivational speakers with a client list that reads like a who’s who of the country”s corporate elite: Qantas, Telstra, Lexus, Vodafone and BMW are just some of the organisations that have used his service.
What are your top ten tips for building referrals?
- Set a target – you have to set a goal or target first before you can achieve it. So to build referrals, work out how many you’re going to ask for each week, because then you’ll be able to give yourself feedback on how you’re doing and you’ll know how much more you need to do to achieve your end result.
- Birds of a feather flock together – people mix with the people they feel comfortable with. If you want to grow your business quickly, focus on people who are already customers of yours and already think you are terrific!
- Take responsibility for getting the referral – it’s no use handing out hundreds of business cards if you’re not going to take responsibility for getting the referrals to happen. If you want to move to the next level of achievement, you must start asking for names and phone numbers.
- Send an ‘advance party’ – if possible have a current client who thinks highly of you phone ahead to a prospective client before you meet them. All the existing client has to say is, ‘You’ll really like her – she’s very professional and calls a spade a spade’, and bingo, you’re in.
- Nothing succeeds like success – one of my clients, Wade, who is in the home loan business, said he has obtained some of his greatest referrals after he has sent a gift basket to a client on the completion of their loan. However, he made a further leap in referrals after he started sending the baskets to the clients’ workplace instead of home. This was a stroke of genius because now, as soon as a gift basket arrives, everyone in the office gathers around to find out where it came from.
- Follow up with a thank you call – it may not be as grand as a gift basket, but a thank you call always impresses clients because most salespeople forget to make them. While you’re on the phone, why not ask your client for at least one person they think could use your product or service. One of the ways to phrase this question is, ‘Eve, have you told anyone about your home loan being approved? Did anyone say they could use my assistance?’ One word of advice: make sure you get the person’s name and number before you hang up.
- Non-buyers also know people who are ready to purchase – I once had an enquiry from a small business owner, who wanted to have his five people attend my seminar but couldn’t afford my fee. I didn’t have any public seminars coming up in his area, so he faced a challenge. How could he get his people to attend one of my seminars and, at the same time, spread the costs a bit? I asked him whether he had any business associates who would be interested in having their people attend with his people, and who could share the cost. Two days later, this gentleman rang back and booked a seminar with a partner, after following this advice. Since then, I have had more than 2,000 staff members from the partner attend my seminar.
- Ask your clients to send a letter or email of introduction – in the early days, whenever I completed a successful series of seminars for an organisation, I would draft a letter that my satisfied client could send to their associates. The letter was written in a way that praised me and my seminars and spoke of the positive feedback and, more importantly, the benefits my client had received.
- Centres of influence referrals – centres of influence are people who are well regarded among a group of people. For example, the head of your local Lions Club or Rotary chapter, or the leader of a local networking group that meets once a week for breakfast. Knowing a centre of influence could result in an avalanche of sales for you because instead of wasting your time seeing each person individually, a centre of influence can invite you to present your product or service to the whole group.
- Manage your database for big results – without doubt one of your biggest opportunities is your humble database of past and current clients. If you haven’t started a database, or if your current one is in poor condition, make a commitment now to contact a public relations or marketing firm as soon as possible to assist you to work this goldmine of opportunities.
For more of this interview check out Dale Beaumont’s “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals Exposed!“.