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Stop Begging for Referrals!

By: David Frey and Copyright 2005 David Frey

David Frey is the senior editor of the Marketing Best Practices Newsletter, a weekly epublication devoted to small business marketing. MarketingBestPractices.com

Just about every course or book that deals with getting referrals teaches you one single referral method - - "asking" for referrals.

Yes, they'll teach you how you have to give good service and then they give you a formula for asking for referrals and that's all well and good....but...

...there's a huge problem with this approach. People hate to ask for referrals. You hate it, I hate it, and the people that get asked hate it.

And the bottom line is...people won't do what they hate to do. That's just simple human nature.

Asking people for referrals is right up there with asking your friend to come to church with you on Sunday. It's downright uncomfortable.

The sad result is that people don't get even a tiny amount of the referrals they could be getting simply because the whole "asking" process is flawed.


Here's the Other Problem with Asking for Referrals...
_____________________________________________

Let's just suppose for a moment that you do ask for referrals. Do you ask all your clients and customers? Do you ask them every time you see them?

Probably not.

Why?

Because it's not a systematic process for you. There's not a bell that goes "ding!" to remind you to ask for a referral every time you're with a customer.

But if you really want a lot of referrals. I mean an avalanche of referrals, you need to have a systematic process for getting them.

Referral S - Y - S - T - E - M - S

Systems are business processes that have predictable results and outcomes because they happen the same way ever time, day in and day out.

I like to think of systems using this acronym:

S-ystems save

Y-ou

S-tress

T-ime

E-nergy and

M-oney

If you want to get more referrals you need to implement referral s-y-s-t-e-m-s.

And the referral system needs to be "transactional" and not "relationship-based."

NOTE: I'm about to ruffle a lot of feathers with this one. It goes against everything you've been taught about getting referrals.


"Transaction-Based" Referrals - The Key to Getting a
Consistent, Predictable Flow of Fresh Referrals

_______________________________________________________

A lot of people who teach you about getting referrals will tell you that if you nourish your relationship with your customer or client they'll give you referrals.

That's not necessarily true.

I'll bet some of your very best customers haven't given you one referral.

Why?

Because they're busy and have a thousand other things on their mind...just like you.

If you rely on just your relationships to get you referrals you'll be disappointed.

The key to getting a consistent stream of referrals is to build the referral process into the transaction!

That's right, you need to build your referral system into the transaction.


Here's a Great Example of a "Transaction-Based" Referral System
_______________________________________________________

The other day I received a promotional letter from TXU Energy (a Texas Energy Company).

In the promotional letter they included a leaflet that offered $40 to anyone who referred a friend and became a customer.

Would you like to see it?

Here's the front side:

tinyurl.com/3wwq7

And here's the back side:

tinyurl.com/3mynj


They also send this leaflet along with their billing statements. When someone comes out to your house to do maintenance work or respond to a call they leave behind this leaflet.

You see, when a "transaction" happens, they ask for a referral.

There's no face-to-face asking.

They don't wait until it's the "right time."

It happens every time there's a transaction.

Because of this, TXU gets a steady stream of referrals. In fact, they can predict with some accuracy that if they give out X amount of leaflets, they'll get back in X amount of referrals.

The results are...
(1) predictable

(2) consistent

(3) repeatable

Applying this Referral Strategy to Your Business
________________________________________

Ask yourself how you can apply this referral strategy to your business.

It doesn't matter if you're a consultant, dry cleaner, auto dealership, or even a large energy company...you can use this referral strategy.

And there's so many variations and applications of this simple referral technique that ANY business can do it. Even yours!

© Copyright 2005 David Frey

Other Articles by David Frey

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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