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The Art of Referrals

By Natasha | November 16, 2007

For many of us referrals are an important part of our business. But what warrants a referral and how do you get your clients to give them. The key to referrals is to exceed client’ expectations…. but you must let them know you have done so!

Often in our business dealings we supply a product or service with a little extra. For example, Mary has an IT company that supplies computers to small businesses. She could simply supply a desktop computer to a client, but as part of her service to the client she reloads existing files into the new system and sets applications according to the specifications of the client. The level of service provided by Mary is substantially more than simply providing a computer from shop to door. However, the client is none the wiser of the added service and sees this as the norm for the service provided. The norm in fact is usually at a much lower level.

When we do something exceptional, say at that higher level, we need to remind our clients that it is above and beyond the call of duty.

In reminding our clients of the extra work or the extra service we have provided it not only exceeds their expectations it will highlight to them the benefits of working with you. Being an exceptional supplier of service will prompt them to think of you when referring you to colleagues and associates. But it is not that simple. You need to remind your clients that you are the referable. Here are a couple of ways you can remind them:

Once your client refers you to another, ensure you reward your referrer with a gift. What to give your referrer very much depends on that person. Building a relationship with this person and understanding what they treasure will allow you to select a personalised small gift of appreciation. But with any gift make certain that you write and reinforce the reminder.

After starting a relationship with a colleague of a referred client ensure that you stay in touch with the referrer. Let them know how things turned out. Now I’m not talking about the work you are doing for the new client, the referrer is more likely to be concerned about the relationship that is building. By staying in touch it gives you another chance to remind your referrer of how good you are and to encourage more referrals.

The path to referrals is a two-way street. And the best most considerate way of showing your appreciation is to refer someone back to your referrer. Take note though, it is really important to find out who is worth referring to your clients simply by asking them “how would I know someone was the person you want referred to you?”

If referrals are the lifeblood of your organisation, what are you doing to encourage more referrals?

Topics: General |

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