Here are 9 things you need to do to put your business in a position to attract more high-quality clients through referrals. If you can establish all, or most, of these strategies as solid habits, you’ll create an unlimited supply of high-quality referrals.
1. Treat the entire referral process with importance.
How you send it out to the world is how it will come back to you. Make sure you create enough time to have a good conversation about referrals. Be on a mission to bring your valuable service to others. As you begin the referral conversations, say something like, “I have an important question to ask you.”
2. Earn the right to get referrals through the “process” you put your clients through.
Bring value quickly to every prospect and exceed your clients’ expectations. Think “process” not “products.” Selling a product or handling a transaction does not make you referable. Putting people through a process – getting them to think “big picture” does.
3. Have a client-service model that drives your contact with your clients.
Most financial professionals don’t use a formal client-service model. When it comes to staying in touch with their clients, they wing it. Guess what? Your clients can tell if you’re winging it. If you want to maintain a high level of client loyalty and remain referable over a long period of time, you have to stay in touch with your clients on 2 levels: 1) Continue to bring value to your relationships (or you’re no longer necessary); and 2) Build business friendships with your clients. (Hosting client appreciation events shield your clients against the competition.)
4. Create your own personal sales force with Centers of Influence.
You probably have one or two COI’s who have the ability to send you referrals. If you have one or two, why not 10 or 12? Think like an entrepreneur. Create your own sales force. Teach them: how well you take care of your clients and the value you bring to your clients; teach them what types of people you serve the best (use an Ideal Client Profile); and teach them the best way for them to give you their referrals.
5. Expand your results by targeting niches.
The best way to create a reputation is to narrow your focus to a group that has formal and informal ways of communicating with each other. When you target a niche, you can serve this market better, you become more valuable, and the referrals flow. Tell one or more of your small business clients that you’re thinking about targeting other businesses like theirs. You’ll be amazed at the introductions you’ll receive.
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