It’s disappointing how many entrepreneurs say they don’t regularly receive referrals from their existing customers. But when in digging a little deeper, the reason becomes clear: Most times, they’re not asking for referrals!
You might believe that if people are happy with the products and services you’re delivering to them, they’ll naturally tell others. While this is sometimes true, it’s not always so. There are three main reasons people don’t refer friends and acquaintances, even when they’re thrilled with the service or product they received:
- Laziness. Most of us are lazy. We don’t go out of our way to do something unless there’s something in it for us.
- They forget. Out of sight, out of mind. Once they leave your presence or use your product, they forget about you – unless there’s something that brings you to top-of-mind again.
- No one asked them to! It sounds crazy, but just asking someone to refer you can increase the amount of referrals you receive. All you have to do is ask!
While asking for referrals doesn’t have to be complicated, there are some guidelines that will make your request more likely to be successful:
- Ask at the right time. Right after your customer has received great service is the perfect time to ask for a referral. The experience is fresh in their minds, and they’re more likely to have a strong positive emotion.
- Ask when you’re having personal contact. When your client is in front of you or on the phone with you, or when you’re wrapping up a series of personal email exchanges is a great time to ask. That personal interaction increases the chances of a positive response.
- Ask specifically. “Do you know anyone else who might be interested in our services?” is a great question, but even better is, “Who do you know who is overwhelmed with their social media?” is better.
- Ask for the information you need. Getting a name is useless without an email address or phone number! If your customer doesn’t have the information on hand, set a specific time to call them to follow up (call – don’t email – because emails are too easy to ignore).
Asking may seem uncomfortable at first, but practice makes perfect. Do it enough times, and it will become a natural part of your interaction with your customers – with fantastic effects.