Maximising your relationships (Part 2)
In my last post, I started looking at how you can prove your worth to existing clients. In this post, I’ll examine how to go about getting a referral from these clients.
Your client needs to know what other services you offer, other than the ones they’re already making use of, and how they add value. Furthermore, if you want your clients to refer you, it is recommended you ask them to do so.
While they may talk about you otherwise, asking for referrals can assist you in controlling what is said about you. Of a representative sample of people surveyed by the American Association of Certified Public Accountants, 54% said they had referred their suppliers. Of those who had not referred suppliers, 8% said it was because they had not been asked to refer their supplier. 87% of those who didn’t refer suppliers felt that their service provider was too busy.
These figures show how important it is to ensure that you ask for referrals and that you ensure that your clients know that you have capacity to take on new business and that their business will not suffer.
The first step in obtaining a referral is to find out if your client is 100% satisfied with your service. If they are not, don’t go any further. If they are happy, explain that part of the way you grow your business is through referrals and ask if they would be willing to refer you to anyone they know who might benefit from your services. If they agree to do so and offer you contact details for a potential lead, ask if they would be willing to call that person to let them know to expect a call from you. In this way, you not only change a cold call into a ‘warm call’ – you are also getting your client to talk about you to the lead. Essentially your client has become a brand ambassador for your business.
Whatever happens with the referral lead, make sure that you let your client know and thank him or her for their assistance. This not only shows your appreciation, but is another opportunity to interact with your client.