Let’s just start with what to definitely not do! I hear people say all the time that they reward people who make a purchase from a referral and that’s just wrong. Don’t misunderstand, I believe it’s okay, legitimate and appropriate to reward someone when they give you a referral. It’s just not appropriate to make the reward conditional on the referral making a purchase of what ever it is that you sell.
The folks I’ve talked to figured that it would save them some money if they only rewarded the referrer when the referral made a purchase and that’s true. It saves them money right out of getting any more referrals. The plane and simple fact of the matter is, you reward the behavior you desire.
Here are 5 ways to get more, more quality and more consistent referrals.
1.) Reward the behavior you want. If you want referrals, reward people when they give you a referral. No matter if the referral buys. If the referrals are not the quality you desire, then…
2.) Educate people (your friends, clients and acquaintances) what to look and listen for that would make a good referral for you. That way they’ll know exactly the type of person that would be ideal for your business.
3.) Let people (your friends, clients and acquaintances) know that you want referrals. Let them know that you appreciate their business and would like to do business with other people just like them. Remember the old adage, “birds of a feather flock together” meaning, like people hang out, know and communicate with others just like themselves. (Bonus Hint: Don’t ask for referrals from clients that are a pain in the &$$… they’ll send you more just like them!)
4.) Be specific in your ask! My friend Hazel Walker, owner of Indiana’s BNI franchise, also knows as the Referral Strategist) says, “When you ask for somebody, anybody or everybody, you ask for nobody!” The phrases, “I’m looking for somebody who…” or “A good referral for me is anybody who…” or “I would like to meet everybody who…” all yield poor results. Why? Because the void is too broad. It’s like asking “Where do you want to go for dinner?” and you can’t think of a single place. Even as you drive by a dozen or so restaurants.
5.) Be consistent, ask at least 3 times, follow-through and follow-up. Being consistent means always ask! Ask three times means… you guessed it, ask at least three times for the same type of referral. Lastly when someone passes you a referral, for goodness sake, thank them with a hand written note (hardly anyone writes handwritten notes anymore which makes them special) where you can enclose your reward. Then call the the person that was referred to you. Failure to do so would be certain to the referral giving of the person who sent the referral to you in the first place.
Diagram your referral process including, how and when to reward and follow up and then follow your plan!