Finding new customers is the key to staying in business, which is why it is so important to develop your referral network. You will probably have heard of people who get paid for referring their friends to a product or service. Learn the basics of maximizing referral opportunities in this article.
This is called word-of-mouth marketing and it can be one of the most powerful tools you have as an entrepreneur.
By asking others to do something for you by recommending a product or service, they will often reward you with their praise. If they were happy with what you gave them, then they will tell other people about it.
Businesses use referrals all the time. They may offer a discount to individuals if a friend goes through their site or services, or maybe they give free items to people that talk about the company.
Make eye contact
Making an impression is one of the most important things you can do to succeed in business. When we talk about making an impression, it usually refers to something like talking with someone for more than two minutes or having a conversation with them.
When you make direct eye contact with another person, you are letting them know that you are paying attention to them and they should feel similar about you. It shows confidence and strength, which are both attractive qualities.
Making eye contact also helps create intimacy, understanding, and connection between people. If you don’t think so yet, try it out.
Blog post: How to Ask For Help Online
Bullet point: Be clear and ask from the right place
The first step towards getting help through social media is to determine if this is even possible. Is there anyone else who has done what you want to do? Have they published their method online? Chances are yes!
By reading their posts, comments and testimonials, you will get an idea of whether or not this works for you. You can then add those tips to yours to achieve your goal even more.
Your sources may vary, but starting by looking into how others have succeeded will give you some great ideas.
Be consistent in maximizing referral opportunities
Consistency is one of the most important things to be when maximizing referral opportunities. This could be with the people you want to refer yourself or others as well as keeping up with all of their activities.
If someone has mentioned something about your business, go into detail and say how it inspired you to begin doing your own thing. Or if they asked you to be a member of their team, tell them why becoming part of yours was the best decision.
Your word will always hold weight when referring to other individuals or businesses, so make sure to use it wisely!
When giving referrals, think about what would help you in their position. Would offering a reward make a difference for them? If yes, offer that reward.
Running a business can be expensive, so thinking of ways to keep costs down is an excellent idea. You don’t need to give away everything free, but do find ways to reduce overhead where possible.
Just because someone else does something doesn’t mean you have to too.
Offer to do things for them when maximizing referral opportunities
As mentioned earlier, offering to help others is one of your main referral resources. When you offer to do something for someone else, it creates an incentive for that person to bring in new people to you.
Your potential referrers will feel more inclined to bring in other individuals when they know that you’ll be doing something for their colleagues or friends.
This can mean anything from going to a party with them to giving a talk at work about how to manage your career.
Ask for referrals
When asking about referrals, make sure you are clear with what you want to know! There are two main types of referral questions that can be categorized as formal or informal. Formal refer-back questions require more structure and should be asked in a clearly defined time frame such as the next day. Informal questions do not have a set timing and typically don’t need to be answered within this timeframe either.
Informal questions tend to focus more on if there is anything the person could help you with now (or something they would like to see you accomplish) or if there is someone else around them that they think could benefit from your services. This is much better than being too direct about looking for a job!
If you ask about opportunities at work, people may feel uncomfortable giving you information about their superiors or colleagues. If you ask friends and family members whether they know anyone who could use your services, they may say “no” because they do not trust you or they do not believe they can provide enough credibility for others to accept the referral.
Tell them about other things you are doing
It is not enough to tell people that you will be making lots of calls for them if they work with you, but instead you should be telling them about all of the great things you do after referrals.
Running an online business like yours takes time, resources, and energy. You need to spend time working on your business, so why would someone else’s customer trust you to take care of their business? They will probably give you some slack because you are trying to make money off theirs, but still, it is important to emphasize how much value you can bring to their business.
You may also want to mention how many customers you have served in the past or some special event you are promoting, such as an anniversary sale or freebie. These types of announcements show that you are dedicated to your business and community oriented.
Your potential referrer already knows this, but by adding more detail to the conversation he or she might forget something important. By mentioning these things, you remind them of what matters in their business.
Use your time wisely when maximizing referral opportunities
As mentioned before, you will not get anywhere if you do not put effort into achieving your business goals. Starting a new business can be tricky at times because there are so many things that need to happen immediately after you launch!
Running around trying to meet people, gain clients, and promote your services is normal during the initial stages of any business. It’s easy to fall into a habit of doing this, but it is unnecessary unless you’re planning on staying in business for a very long time.
Once you have built up enough referrals, you will no longer have to work as hard to find customers or partners. People will come to you and connect with you through your activities, and you will reap the benefits of their connections forever.
But don’t expect everyone to actively help you out. Some people may feel overwhelmed by all the opportunities they perceive they must take action on to help them succeed. This could easily result in them ignoring your calls, messages, and meetings until you push harder or change your approach.
Avoid becoming someone who is only looking for help from others. You should always remain motivated and engaged, even when things aren’t going well. If you lose motivation, you might end up leaving money on the table and walking away without anything significant.
Connect with them
Being more interactive and social is your best bet to gain referrals. People are usually reluctant to refer friends for business, but if you connect with them on LinkedIn or through other sites like Facebook, they will!
Interacting with others creates a sense of obligation towards you to recommend you as someone worth talking about. If their colleagues, superiors, and peers talk highly of you, then they feel obligated to add value by giving you their endorsement.
Interacting with people also helps you discover potential referral sources. By asking questions and listening to what they have to say, you learn who those people are and how to work with them.
Running into unexpected situations can give you clues about possible opportunities to create referrals. For example, you might find out that a colleague’s boss would be a good fit for a job position or that another person you meet at a party could help get you in touch with professionals in the field.
By being aware of these possibilities, you do not need to close those doors prematurely because you did not ask enough questions during the initial meeting.
Following up is one of the most important things you can do in maximizing referral opportunities. When someone recommends your product or service, they may leave some collateral behind (brochures, business cards, etc.) that they will need for future use of their organization.
It’s good practice to keep in touch after the conversation so they don’t have to make extra trips to find what they needed. You can even send them an email thanking them for talking about you and asking if there are any other resources they would recommend you look into!
The hardest part about referrals is doing it. Don’t let this pass you by! Take time out of your day today to follow up with all those people who gave you quality exposure.
And don’t forget, A/B testing is very helpful when referring out. Try sending different types of messages to see which ones get more responses.