The First Key
The first key is to understand that you need to earn them. You need to earn them! With tools out there like LinkedIn, people are asking for referrals and endorsements without really knowing each other and without really earning them. And what I mean by earning it is key number one, refer! Do you refer?
To use a quote by Mahatma Gandhi:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Now that’s kind of paraphrasing of his quote, but you get the idea. If you want more referrals, give more referrals. And understand how the universe works. The referral is not going to come back from the same person you gave a referral to necessarily, but if you get yourself into the practice of being a giver, you will attract more referrals.
Don’t take my word for it, try it and see what I mean! It’s just the way the universe seems to work. I’m not going to sit here and getting philosophical and spiritual on you right now, just understand to get you must give referrals.
Are you referrable?
The other side of this is being referable. So not only are you giving referrals now, but are you really referable? This may sting a little bit, but you really need to take that look in the mirror. Maybe even a 360 degree mirror! Look at yourself. Are you really referable?
There are so many criteria that go into determining whether you are really referable. Number one is do you have the relationship built with the person you are seeking a referral from? And I’m not talking about a surface relationship. I’m talking about going deep with someone and knowing something about them. Making them feel good about you and like you, that is key to getting referrals. They have to like you!
Other things are what I call integrity plus one. Do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it, how you said you were going to do it and then always plus one it. Something unexpected, an extra bonus or way of raising the game or the bar every time. Keeping people understanding that you are a full integrity person. That you rock! You have to look the part, have the expertise about you, something that is worth talking or sharing about. We could go on and on about this. You have to create win, win, win type scenarios for the person that you are looking to refer you as well as with the person they are referring to you. How do we all win? You have to make it easy to refer you All of these play into whether you really are truly referrable.
Ask some people that you can trust to have a conversation with you about this to see if you are really truly referable. How can you raise your game? If you aren’t getting the referrals that you desire, check it! Something’s not right there. Sometimes we think that this is how we are being perceived and we are really being perceived another way.
Asking for the Referral
Once you do those things and you’ve earned those referrals then it’s about asking for the referral. That’s the second key, asking for the referral. Now it’s not from the standpoint of just asking. Put some systems in place. Have some formal referral systems in place.
Now what do I mean by that? You might send out a quarterly email to some of your best clients gently prodding them to refer you. You can say it in a way that they can see the win, win, win. That they understand we are reiterating for them how we may help them and how we can maybe help someone that they care about in a similar fashion. Try to make it so that this is bigger than you because your client doesn’t want to hear the fact that you just want more money. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. It just is.
Some people put the referral system where they ask for a referral at the point of sale. So as soon as someone signs on the dotted line they are asking for the names and numbers of three of your best friends. Whether it works or not is another story. But that’s a referral system. It’s being done all the time. If we don’t have these referral systems in place chances are we aren’t going to get the referrals that we really desire for our business. So when I talk referral systems it’s not about just having one system, have two three four five, ten different systems that you can implement that will increase your chances of actually getting the referrals you want and probably deserve. But remember if you’re not getting the referrals don’t blame your clients as if they are doing you a disservice or doing something wrong. They are probably busy. We all get caught up in our own stuff. So it might not be personal.
Again, earn them, ask for them, and get those systems in place.