Client referrals: how to strike gold

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Everyone wants more referrals, but how do you turn a good client experience into new customers coming through your door? Sales training website founder Frances Pratt explains.

Referrals are what salespeople call a warm lead. It is someone who comes into your business because they know something about you, have met you or a client that you’ve worked with.

They are gold because you have a higher chance of closing sales with them, and this means you have to make less calls in order to reach your targets.

Why do referrals have a much higher conversion rate than other leads into your business? It’s simple, it’s about trust.

Because the person trusts the referrer they’re more likely to trust you and what you have to say to them. So your job is to make them a happy customer too.

There are some really simple things that you can put in place right now to build more referrals into your business, but here’s the trick – you have to be proactive about it.

You have to ask your clients and people that you know for referrals into your practice. Why? Because someone is three times more likely to refer business to you if you simply ask them.

The easiest way to get more referrals is to have happy clients – they  are much more likely to refer business to you. Then you need to get used to introducing the ‘ask’ into your client meetings.

Here’s an example of a way to introduce this. Once you have answered all your client’s questions:

“Well, for my business the thing that I’m focusing on in the next 12 months is getting new clients in, so I’m looking for referrals. Do you know anyone who might value the service that I’m providing?”

That one simple question is going to help your clients think about people who they can refer to your business – and make them much more likely to do it.

Now, if you get a referral from a client there’s a few things you need to do:

  • Confirm that you can use the client’s name when you’re talking to the referral;
  • make sure that you actually call up this person and follow up the lead; and
  • keep in touch with the client about how you’re going with the lead, because if you’re successful with them and you keep in touch then they’re much more likely to refer new business to you next time.

Last thing – remember your manners. When you get a referral remember to say thank you. That can be in words, but some people choose to give money, gifts or even a nice thank you card. Find your own style.

Go on, get out there and talk to your clients!