If you are a professional that needs to sell yourself and your services then it’s likely that your practice’s new business relies almost entirely on referrals for growth. In fact, statistically, professional services firms receive 80% of their new business from referrals. So it makes sense that as marketing coaches, we frequently get asked how to get more referrals in the door from professionals and other “centers of influences (COI).” Creating a strategy to consistently get quality referrals from your network is possible by implementing the following steps in your marketing and sales efforts.
Have a Great Elevator Speech
First you need to determine your unique value – or what differentiates you from your competitors. Then practice communicating it regularly with your clients, prospects and referral sources. Avoid using clichés like “We’ve been in business 25 years,” or “We deliver excellent client service.” Everybody says that and nobody cares. Think of how to talk about yourself and your service in a way that will clearly communicate how you can help elevate your client’s biggest concerns; the value you bring to your clients.
Be Known and Credible
People will refer you if they think you are credible. Developing credibility will only happen if you are intentional about communicating your thought leadership consistently to your clients, prospects and COIs. So implement a system where you continue stay in front of these groups of people on a regular way through blog articles, newsletter, case studies, educational articles and seminars/webinars so they think of you first when it comes to making that next client referral!
Tell People What your Best Referral Looks Like
For people to give you a great referral, they need to know from you clearly and concisely what a good referral for you looks like. So begin by creating your criteria for your “A-Level Clients” so you can tell others what a good referral for you would be. It might even be helpful for you to write this information down. Then when in meetings, share this information!
Determine Where your Best Clients Have Come From in the Past
It’s important to know the sources of your new business so you can focus on either expanding those relationships – or creating new relationships with referral sources just like them!
Think About the Professionals You Are Referring your Clients To
These professionals should in return, be sending you referrals. If they are not, there is room for improvement in that relationship – either that or it may be time to stop sending your client referrals to them and find a professional who will reciprocate!
Ask for Help
Once you have clarified your elevator speech, and you are regularly communicating your expertise, it’s now time to begin sharing with others what you are looking for in regard to new business. When you are meeting with your A-Level clients, tell them you are looking to add new clients to your practice just like them, and then ask for their help in finding more of these people. When meeting with referral sources, make sure you start by asking them how you can help them… and then share with them your newly created information on what a great referral source for you looks like. Again, enlist their help to help you find new clients – but only after you have helped them.
The referral process can be challenging but by creating a strategy to communicate your unique value, and by doing your own homework – the referrals will come. For additional information on this topic, please join us for our up-coming webinar “How to Ask for Referrals from Clients and Other Professionals” on Thursday, October 24th 2013.