Getting referrals takes time and work. Just because you do a good job for your clients doesn't mean they're going to naturally send you referrals. Attending networking events and making connections with people who could potentially provide you with referrals isn't automatic, either.
Just like everything else to do with your business, it's hard work! But it doesn't have to be drudgery. Once you start asking for and listening for the openings to make a request, it becomes a habit that will help you expand your business and increase profits.
A big part of it is your mindset. Are you excited about your products and services? Do you express excitement when talking about what you do? Is there a smile on your face? Do you think about the many potential clients searching for your products and services and how you are the best option to solve their problems?
Are you confident when you are speaking to a client or friend about passing along a referral (do you even ask?), and when your client or prospect is speaking are you focused on them and being a good listener? Are you making eye contact?
Be sure and ask current clients periodically if they know of anyone, like them, who might be in need of your services. You may also want to find out from any long-term client why they have not referred any business to you, should that be the case.
What I've found many times is that the client was hesitant to pass along referrals because they feared that it would take your time away from doing their services, so they hadn't even considered connecting you with others.
Make them feel comfortable that you will be able to serve them at the same level you always have, and help them to understand how important it is that you grow your business in order to keep your business profitable and allow you to stay in business to help them for years to come.
You might also consider some sort of a referral program where they could receive a discount on their next purchase, or possibly a gift of some sort in appreciation. Whatever that might look like, it's a great way to develop a good continuous stream of prospective clients who will already have an understanding of the value and benefit of working with you.
These are all great ways to prepare yourself to ask for referrals. And don't forget to provide them, too. Find someone that fits a need for this person that is not in your expertise, or suggest their products/services to someone else, and be sure to let them know you referred them. Nothing helps solidify your relationship better than reciprocating and creating a partnership and deeper relationship with your current clientele.
Create a basic script for asking for referrals and practice it until it is second nature and flows naturally. You'll be surprised at just how many great prospects are out there just waiting to find you if only you would ask.
Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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