Do you know why clients or prospects don’t make referrals? Introducing a new relationship too a trusted circle is a risk. Clients have natural fear for reputation damage. It’s normal and expected. Watch the video or read the article below and discover how to orchestrate killer referrals by overcoming client referral fears.
A salesman is sitting with his new client. The final “T” is crossed and the last “I” dotted on the contract. As his new client takes a sip of his coffee the salesman shares that he’d like a few referrals…. just 100 or so of your closest friends and customers he says…
His customer’s eyes bulge, and he literally begins to choke on his coffee, he’s going apoplectic.
And the salesman says what? Too many? Ok, how about three or four…. ?
Humor busts awkward
Humor is a wonderful antidote for breaking a potentially awkward moment. And asking for referrals can certainly qualify as potentially awkward. This particular line anchors the bar ridiculously high and then reintroduces at a level so low as to seem more than reasonable.
Welcome back to the Orchestrating killer referrals series. Today I’m sharing part IV of my orchestrating referrals process. Orchestrating means that you are creating referrals for your business with intention and predictability.
If this is the first of the series you’ve seen and you haven’t seen or read parts I, II or III I encourage you to watch them now. Then come back to this one. You can watch or read them on my blog. Right here.
All referrals require the absolute prerequisite I outlined in video #I. Part II outlines your killer referral sources and in the third one I share the pre-frame method for positioning your client with the right referral mindset.
Here is what’s coming up in the next two weeks:
In my next videos and blogs I share:
• When and how to ask for referrals
• How to close the loop and create a continuous refillable cycle of killer referrals.
Overcoming client referral fears.
There are two key fears, one major and one minor, that must be addressed for the client to feel comfortable in making a referral.
Reputation management is the primary obstacle but how to make a referral can be a challenge as well. You must understand that clients and prospects are fearful of providing referrals.
How would you feel if you referred a service provider to your best friend or client and the service provider fell on their face. Would you be worried about your reputation?
Or Imagine that you have spent years building a professional relationship with someone who is a leader in your field. Let’s call him John. Over time, a strong, mutual respect has grown between you and John. Then, one day you get an email from a person you have never met before. This person wants to know if you will introduce him to John, your trusted colleague. Would you feel comfortable providing an introduction for this random person to John?
Reduce the fear
To orchestrate your killer referral strategy you must always strive to reduce, minimize or altogether eliminate client fears. Becauae if for some reason you don’t deliver your amazing service, it will reflect badly on them. Their reputation will be hurt and their self esteem will drop. Making a referral is a risk
Steve Gordon, author of “Unstoppable Referrals”, asserts that fear is the major reason that clients do not give you referrals.
They have good relations with members in their circle but they are always running scared that something could jeopardize their relationships. While they believe that you are a fine fellow and will do a great job, they are not sufficiently confident about this to make a referral. The risk is much lower if they simply sit on their hands. and so they do that, and your business loses.
Gordon’s solution is simple–eliminate all thought of ‘sales’. Instead, come up with something that your client can offer to his circle that is so immensely valuable that you are now doing him a favor rather than the other way around.
When you deliver on the referral … your client will be proud to have reciprocated your goodwill and proud that they could make a killer referral to their friend or associate. Up until you deliver your service the result is cloudy. A valuable gift removes the cloud of uncertainty.
Andy Lopata, who has written three books on networking, is even more provocative. He says that, in many instances, clients don’t give referrals because they don’t want you to succeed.
This is deep.
Your client wants you to do well and remain in business, but not so well that your business really takes off and you get droves of clients and he becomes less important to you.
He wants to be taken care of and–at some level–suspects that this will suffer if you are wildly successful. He will not sabotage you, but he will take his foot off the gas pedal and he does this by holding back on referrals.
Your role is to Reassure your client, frequently, that providing referrals will only increase his value to your company and that higher value customers receive additional levels of service often at no additional cost.
The right mindset is critical
Start your referral relationship off on the right foot with the mindset that you are not looking for a sale. You are looking for an introduction to a rich new relationship.
Studies show that only about 7% of the population is likely to need your services or products immediately . Another 10% or so might be persuaded that buying your products or service may be valuable at the time. But that still leaves 83% of the population not ready or willing to buy now. When you offer a valuable gift or service that your client can be proud of your telling your client that your primary value is the introduction.
Your client needs to know with 100% certainty that you will do everything in your power to deliver a WOW experience to whomever they refer. Offering a gift of product or service moves the referral opportunity away from a sales conversation and into a unique introduction opportunity.
If you are a jeweler looking for referrals, you might offer a pair of earrings to the referred prospect. Free of charge. Think how your client will feel if they know that their referral resulted in their friend receiving a free pair of earrings.
Gifts come in many shapes and sizes it could be a gift of help. You can make this offer without having to ask for a referral and it can have the same result.
Here’s a simple example: Mr. Client, if you’re ever in a situation where someone you care about needs my help, I want you to know that I’m here for you to have a call and I will help them in any way I can. I might not be able to take them on as a client, but we can at least give them some guidance and help them to avoid making big mistakes.”
By doing this with a genuine intention to help, you offer an act of service instead of asking your clients for a favor. Imagine if your doctor or lawyer offered this service. You would be grateful, not painfully uncomfortable, right?
Overcoming How to Make a Referral Fear
The other fear, important but less challenging, is knowledge based. Your client might feel awkward or less than competent in the process of making a referral. One suggestion is to develop a raving fan referral letter. You can set the baseline as a template and customize it for each client. Your raving fan referral letter provides the client with the best words and syntax for delivering the referral either in writing or in person.
Make sure they know how best to refer you. Chances are their not great at making referrals, Coach them through the process. Make it as easy as possible.
Message me below if you’d like a sample raving fan letter and I’ll send one out right away.
Here’s what you should do now
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Cheers to your success.