Referrals Are Not A Passive Practice

“Don’t ask me how to get 200 new clients. Show me a list of 200 people you spoke to about your service. Then I can help.” – Seth Godin

“How can I add more clients?” is one of the most common questions I field on a daily basis.

When we talk about adding more clients, referral marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use to gain access to new clients. It is, however, the most overlooked and under-utilized strategy. 

Business owners will resort to social media and digital marketing instead. These methods are important, but they are things that are done in the background, at all times, and on a consistent basis.

The problem with referral marketing is that it’s not as flashy as social media marketing. Business owners need to learn how to sell their services better as it is, and directly asking for a referral makes a lot of owners feel uncomfortable. Although it’s more effective, it’s the path of more resistance when compared next to social media and digital marketing for a lot of owners.

Referral Marketing is far superior because you can use the networks of your already invested clients to bring in more people like them. Too often, I see business owners waiting for their clients to bring people to them on their own, or they will wait for the “perfect” time when the conversation about their friend arises.

Referrals can’t be passive. Your customers are not salespeople and never will be. This comes even less naturally to them than it might to you!

Here’s how you can make referral conversations more proactive instead of passive.

Start With Your Best Clients

Your best clients are your best clients for a reason. Generally they invest in most of your services, and they are also the most enjoyable to work with. That means that we want more people like them. 

Sit down with your best clients and start a conversation. Ask them about their wins since they’ve started using your services, and help solve them through any struggles they still might be facing. When the time feels right, ask them: “Is there anyone in your life that could benefit from our services?” 

If the answer is no, thank them and let them know that you’ll periodically check in with them again.

If the answer is yes, congratulations! Ask them for their contact information and begin working on establishing that connection.

Your best clients love working with you. They talk about you to their friends already. They want their friends to also work with you, and sometimes they don’t necessarily know how to create that conversation themselves. You could be the catalyst for this, so don’t avoid this opportunity!

The Details Matter

Having a Client Details List in your arsenal can be a powerful referral tool for your business. A Client Details List is simply just a spreadsheet with your client’s names down one side, and then everything you know about them listed out next to their names. You will want to know specifics like who makes up their immediate family, their friends, where they work, and what they do for fun. 

Knowing simple details like those means that you’ll have infinite opportunities to recruit new members from their immediate circles. The networks of your clients are equally as valuable as they are themselves!

By asking a more direct question than above, this helps the conversation feel less “sales-y” for some owners as they begin practicing their referral marketing skills. It feels more natural to say, “Hey, remember when you mentioned your husband said your new jeans looked good? What do you think about bringing him in for a session with you so we can show him how hard you work?” or, “Hey, you mentioned to me that one time that your friend was looking at remodeling their bathroom. How about we drop by and give him an estimate and some samples of the work we’ve done?”

Learning how to engage organically during a referral conversation is an acquired skill for most, but all it takes is practice. The main point to remember about referral marketing is that you can’t leave it to your customers to control. Waiting for them to bring people to you is a recipe for disaster. Learn the details about your clients, and start seeking opportunities to have organic conversations about those circles of theirs!

If you’re ready to take a seat at the table and build more efficient marketing strategies, book a call with our team and let’s see if PDBM is the right fit for you!

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