Top 7 Reasons You're Not Getting More Referrals
By Diana Ratliff
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It’s no secret -- referrals are the single best, most desirable way of obtaining new clients. Referred customers spend more, complain less, stay longer and are just generally easier to deal with long-term. So why do some people get all the referrals they can handle, and you barely get one a month? The answers may surprise you.
- Your customers aren’t that impressed with you.
Uh-oh. It should come as no surprise that if you do sloppy work, sell a shoddy product or are difficult to deal with, you can kiss potential referrals goodbye.
What many of us don’t realize is that “good” products and services don’t necessarily prompt referrals, either. Good service is a bare minimum, a reasonable customer expectation. You need to go beyond good service if you want to stimulate unsolicited referrals.
- Your customers don’t think you need referrals.
You’re advertising on the radio, your trucks are all over town, you’re wearing a snazzy suit -- business must be booming, right? Believe it or not, some of your customers have no idea that referrals are important to you.
- Your customers simply forgot about you.
Harry Homeowner bought his house from you 3 years ago and hasn’t heard from you since. He thought you were a sharp guy and sure would like to tell his co-worker about you, but can’t remember your name. On the other hand, he just got a handwritten card from that new Realtor in his business networking group -- so guess whose name he gives to his house-hunting friend?
- Your customers are awfully busy.
Your customers have their own jobs, their own families, their own fires to put out. Your priorities are not their priorities. Unless there’s a compelling reason to do so -- such as a warm friendship or a reward with high perceived value -- it’s just easier to let the referral opportunity pass.
- You haven’t given your customer a reason to give you a referral.
When someone refers you, they’re putting their own reputation on the line. You’re asking them to go out on a limb for you, which is especially scary if they’re new customers themselves or don’t know you very well.
- Your customers don’t know what you want in a referral.
Many of us are unwittingly too vague when we ask for referrals. We say “Bill, please let me know if you run across someone who has need of my services” or “Kelly, if you know of someone I might be able to help, would you give them my card?”
Such sentences are weak; they’re suggestions rather than specific requests.
It’s far more effective to ask “who” and “which” questions, such as “Who else in your church has a child going off to college? Or, “Which one of your co-workers is struggling with health issues just now?”
- You haven’t asked for referrals at all.
For many of the same reasons given above, many of us are uncomfortable and intimidated when it comes to asking for referrals. We don’t want to bother people, we’re afraid of rejection or embarrassment, we forget to ask and yes, we’re busy ourselves.
Fortunately, many of these problems can be solved with the implementation of an automated referral or follow-up system.
Diana Ratliff helps salespeople and business owners get more referrals using the tools and strategies at CustomersByReferral.com. Ask for a free test drive of Send Out Cards, a powerful referral and follow-up system that can help YOU generate endless referrals.
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Article Submitted On: September 12, 2008