Getting great customer referrals

Written by Rick Spence

article on sales-training site RainToday, points out that professionals such as doctors, dentists and real estate agents are masters of referral marketing. But most other entrepreneurs are not, he writes, “because it’s harder than it looks.”

Kehrer offers seven keys to getting more and better referrals. Here’s my take on his top four points:

Implement a referral-generation plan. You must create a system for soliciting referrals. You need to make sure that you and your employees consistently ask for referrals in a systematic way.

Provide some ammunition. Give your clients the tools they need to provide effective referrals. Supply them with brochures or business cards, to give prospects a starting point to learn more about you. Or create a special page on your website for referral-driven prospects. It could provide upgraded resources for new customers, or offer discounts or service packages that will help prospects make speedier decisions to buy.

Get the right information. When asking customers for referrals, make sure you obtain the details you need. Use a form, checklist, or database program that helps you capture additional information, such as the prospect’s company, job title, industry, or responsibilities. “A simple name and number isn’t really a referral,” says Kehrer. “It’s just a lead.”

Target your most influential clients. If your resources are limited, seek referrals mainly from the clients whom you believe will be most influential in your target market. Leveraging your resources, so as not to spread yourself too thin, is a key success tactic for any entrepreneur.

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