Did you know there is a way of asking for referrals that literally makes or breaks your ability to get more?
Sadly, many self-employed professionals don’t realize this. As a result, they let referrals slip through their fingers even though they are doing a lot of networking. Often unaware of it, they lose out on opportunities to receive referrals.
Why? Because they are not confidently asking or are not crystal clear on what they want.
To avoid letting your referrals slip through your fingers, you need to ask powerfully and precisely for exactly what you want. This will reassure your referral partners about who you work with. They will gladly send you referrals when they see that you are sure of yourself. If you leave someone questioning whether you are good at what you do or who you best serve, they will send their referrals to someone else.
A few months back, I was attending a high-level networking roundtable with many profitable business owners in attendance. I met a woman who spoke confidently and projected enthusiasm in describing her services. I learned that she had also been in business less than one month.
When someone asked her to introduce herself to the roundtable, explain her services, and to describe her ideal client, she started out confidently detailing her business-to-business services. Then something changed.
When she got to the point of describing her ideal client, this woman’s behavior changed very quickly. She looked away and her eyes darted back and forth as if she was searching for the right words. After composing herself, she started with “I think what I want is…” Her voice suddenly became lower and she was no longer confident.
Right then and there, with just two words “I think,” she lost the opportunity for thousands of dollars worth of business. I knew by the way she lacked confidence and specifics, attendees were going to wait to refer her business. She had simply not convinced others to refer people to her.
This is a common mistake new business owners make and why polishing your client profile is so important. The next time you’re asked about your business, remember these three tips:
- Your referrals want to work with people who convey confidence in their services and are specific about who they work with. When asked to introduce yourself, don’t supply a laundry list of services you provide. Look people in the eye, project enthusiasm and keep your message about your services concise and consistent.
- Speak with certainty. When asked who makes a good referral for you, stay clear of words such as, “I think what I want is…” Instead, start with, “I am looking for…” or “a good referral is…”
- Be exact. If you start out with, “I’m looking for anyone who…” you’re casting too wide a net for your referral sources to picture your ideal client. Instead, be specific. “I work with chiropractors.” Titles or other demographics paint a picture in your referral’s mind so that when they meet your ideal client, they will instantly think of you.
Attend networking venues regularly so that people get to know you and share successes that your clients achieved by working with you so that you establish credibility.
As you invest time in preparing for your networking and projecting exactly who you work with and what you do, you will notice how effortlessly referrals come to you.