Our team has been trying to help small and medium businesses for a while now and we understand one thing: referrals are the lifeblood that keeps any business alive.
Even our business is based off people – clients, local networks and trusted friends alike, trying to send referrals down our way. If you have either a startup or a long-term endeavour, you know the formula’s as simple as it gets: the more people provide referrals, the bigger the customer base becomes.
Asking for referrals, however, is hard work. You may be an introverted technical master or just too busy with your four-employee enterprise, but you would want to take the time out of the day to go to networking events, local round table meetings and even business events to find a fresh crop of people to see your craft.
There’s a way to get people that you meet in any meeting to help refer your business each time, every time. Here’s how you do it.
Set a Helpful, Unselfish Mindset
Unless you’re extroverted and ultra-friendly, you may have to endure talking to somebody in a networking event just so you can elevator pitch your business to them. It takes a lot of gusto to do self-promotion, but it also takes a lot of strength to actually listen to someone talk about their business.
Let’s be candid here for a second: we just hate endlessly listening to the drivel of other people who keeps on talking and talking and talking about themselves, their enterprise and how they’ll benefit you. It’s one thing to read it from a website, but add a smug sales talk to that? Yeesh.
I’m not sure about many people but that makes me think that they’re only there for themselves – and we all actually are. It feels egocentric of them to do that and you would feel like you don’t want to go on anymore.
What you want to do is act interested and keep asking questions. Go deep into what they have to offer.
It sounds bad – you’re putting yourself at a position that you are literally encouraging drivel, but this lets you look welcoming, easy to talk to and somebody people can recommend to others… as long as you don’t forget to endorse yourself in the first place.
Give Rewards an Incentives for Referrals
Another step into getting people to refer you to other people is to always provide them an incentive to refer you to other people. We’re not talking about cash here, but rather small rewards like coupons, discounts or the perennial gifts every now and then out of nowhere.
By incentivising any attempts to connect to you, it gives anybody additional motivation to do business with you. The small price, high value tripwire style is a great gift that doesn’t feel like you’re bribing off someone to offer your services.
There’s even a way to take this a step further: reward both the referrer and referred with your tripwire value offers. Providing discounts for both sides or additional value lets the referrer see that you’re willing to take care of them and the person they will funnel to your website.
Make them feel that they’re not doing work, but rather simply getting them to send their clients and even friends your way for a nice one-time deal. If they’re repeat referrers, give them a deeper incentive or even send a small gift along their way.
Set a Future Meetup for Second Contact
Now that you’ve asked someone to refer you, the next step is to get acquainted with them. Much like a marketing sales funnel, you would this to be a step-by-step funnel style process where you’re letting the ball roll on their side.
Create a future contact between you and that somebody. Set a meeting. Offer to get them a coffee real soon. Spend some one on one time learning each other’s enterprise, how they run stuff, exchange tips on how to handle things like social media and employees… the list goes on.
When asking them about this, be straightforward. They’d also want to be with people who are in the same league as them and they will remember you more if you’re not just another face in a sea of people trying to get ahead.
Mastering the one-on-one business meetings is highly valuable as it creates an attention to detail and recall within other people that no type of networking techniques can ever muster.
Establish Remote Communication Via Email
Once you set a schedule, next on your to-do list is to establish remote communication with the people you want to refer you, specifically via email. You would want to start by breaking the ice and reminding them who you are and where you’ve met.
Tell them that you enjoyed your conversations. Reflect to them small details of what they said. Make it about them and how you can try and help them direct more clientele towards their business if you go for a coffee.
It’s best to suggest with your own schedule and reconcile a time. The idea is that you’re making yourself helpful – and people are more receptive to others who are helpful to them. According to John Hall of Influence & Co:
“Being helpful to other people is never going to get in the way of your success. The sooner you realize that we’re really all in this together, and that there’s plenty of room for everyone to thrive, the more successful you’ll be at achieving your goals in life and in business.”
Make the Most of Your Latte Talk
Make your latte talk as awesome as you can. Latte talk are those small one-to-one business talks that you try to do in an hour or less, typically by exchanging information with another party.
You create these to establish genuine ways for both of your businesses to have referrals of each other’s enterprise, allowing for some sort of partnership.
Remember to be as genuinely inquisitive about what they provide. Faking it is obvious and awkward and the one-on-one creates a strong link that no networking can provide.
You would want some things to remember when trying to do these conversations. This includes:
- Make it short and sweet. One hour tops.
- Let them talk first on the first half and check for ways you can try to get them referrals.
- Take the other half of the hour and start talking about your business.
- No sales. This is pure referrals. Make sure that you also give them tips on how you think they can improve what they’re doing.
- Provide insights and add value to their offerings. Justify this from a perspective of a potential buyer.
- Ask them about their customer avatar – who is their perfect customer and what is a great referral to them.
- If it’s your turn to talk, tell them what is your idea of a great referral.
What’s a good referral? It’s a combination of your ideal customer – from the type of pains you resolve for them in consideration of what pains you have already solved for other people.
Doing these five steps makes sure that you get a great referrer who will never forget you because you’re an interested party in their endeavours. Make sure the referrals are mutual and you’ll get the customers flowing.