I took a class on building a referral system a few years ago and had a major epiphany: Referrals are not supposed to be a surprise! They are not something you hope for. Referrals are not some magical benefit that falls from the sky – at least they are not supposed to be.
If you had a magical marketing tool that mean possibly hundreds of free sales people evangelizing your company, product and or service — you don’t just leave that up to chance do you?
Of course you don’t. You treat it as a customer generating process that will consistently yield all the wonderful, ideal customers you could ever want.
So where do you begin?
- Decide to treat referrals like a systemic process that you follow every day.
- Develop a Referral Guideline – it’s basically a selling sheet for your company that you share with the people who refer you.
- Set goals around the system.
- Work it every day.
Developing Your Referral Guideline
The referral guideline is a 1-page sales sheet on who you are, what you do, the kinds of clients you serve. It’s easy to read and easy enough to understand so that when you review this with your referrers they get it.
There are 3 basic sections to a referral guideline:
- What sets you apart. In this section you give us your Unique Selling Proposition. Tell the referrer in as few words as possible what you do and what sets you apart from others that do similar things.
- Your Ideal Customer. This is a descriptive profile. It needs to be clear and vivid enough so that I would recognize your prospect in less than 30 seconds. “Men over 40 who wear glasses” for example.
- Referral Triggers. Things that a potential referral might say that would make me think of you. “I’m going to get new glasses”
- How to refer me. Educate and train your referrers on what to ask or what to say to potential clients.”Those are terrific glasses – where did you get them?”
- Thank your referrer. Some people have a referral fee, some people simply refer because it’s a service they provide. Be clear on where you stand – but be sure to have the conversation of how your referrer wants to be thanked.
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