Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Building a Referral Based Business? Are You Asking for Referrals?

For many of us that is the goal. Build a business that runs wholly on referrals- no need for marketing or networking. That is the dream. It doesn’t have to be that far out of reach.

One of the biggest barriers to reaching your referral-based business may be an easy one to fix. Ask for the referrals. You have to ask for what you want. There are a host of reasons why people do not ask for referrals. One of these might sound like you:

* Fear of rejection
* It doesn’t feel right
* It feels pushy
* I do not want my client to think I need business
* Fear of spoiling a good relationship
* Insert your reason here….

Whatever the reason you will never build a referral based business unless you ASK for the referrals. Some people do refer others to you simply because they recognize your value. Others just do not think about offering referrals, nor do they realize the value of that simple connection – one satisfied client to another potential client.

Asking for referrals can take practice. Central to feeling good about asking is truly owning your value. Realizing that you offer a product or service that provides value to your client. Sounds simple, yet so many business owners do not fully realize how valuable their service is. Until you realize your value asking for referrals will feel awkward.

Knowing when to ask for referrals is as important as asking. Ask too soon and your value has not been realized, wait too long and you no longer have access. You know when the client is receiving the value of your service, you probably even have a conversation about the progress that has been made or changes they have seen. This is the time to ask for referrals. When the client is conscious of the value they have received and will continue to receive.

Let them know you value your relationship, that you want to continue to serve others as you have served them and that by providing referrals they will help to make certain that happens. In many ways they are sharing a gift with the referred person. Your client knows your value and they want to share that with their contacts.

You may struggle with how many referrals to ask for. I do recommend that you ask for a certain number of referrals. This helps to provide direction to your client. If you simply ask for referrals you might get one that is great or you may get 20 that are not a good fit. Ask for 3 – 5 referrals this is an attainable number and will drive your client to think about individuals that will be a good fit for your work.

While you may never feel completely comfortable asking for referrals you can come to a place where asking is easy and fruitful. Practice is the key. Pay attention to what works and ASK!!!!

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