Guest Post By: Emmie Brown
Anyone reading this would agree that referrals are a good thing. Referrals that trickle in because someone heard about you from one of your clients don’t come often enough.
There are 3 reasons why you don’t get enough referrals:
- You don’t ask
- You ask passively
- You ask incorrectly
Here is a list of common reasons given for why you didn’t ask for referrals:
“I shouldn’t have to ask. If I do a good job, people will refer me.”
“I don’t want to come across as pushy or salesy.”
“I ran out of time before my next appointment.”
“I’ll ask later. I need to earn their trust first.”
“If I ask, I will look like I need the business. I want to look successful.”
They are all rationalizations- rational sounding lies believed to be true. The truth is professionals make time to ask for referrals and they do it in a way that the client actually gets excited to help them.
YOU MUST ASK FOR REFERRALS!
Some people ask but are fearful. Fear causes you to ask passively or ask with trepidation: “I really appreciate referrals. If you think of anyone who would benefit from what I do, please connect them to me.” You mention that you like referrals. You don’t ask for them directly. You don’t get them.
YOU MUST EXPECT TO ACTUALLY COLLECT REFERRALS WHEN YOU ASK!
Others don’t ask for referrals correctly. You ask, “Do you know of anyone who. . .” You actually set yourself up to get “I can’t think of anyone right now, but I will let you know if I do.”
Other objections you get when they ask poorly include:
- I need to think about it.” “Can you call me next week?” “I’ll get back to you.”
- The “Hermit” objection: “I don’t know anyone.”
- “Sure you can call him, but just don’t use my name.” “Let me talk to him first.” “I’ll have him call you.”
- “I don’t give referrals.”
YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR REFERRALS THE RIGHT WAY!
Here are just a few tips that we teach at Southwestern Consulting:
- Always ask “who do you know who . . . “ instead of “do you know anyone who. . . ” or “is there anyone who. . .?”
- Pause after you ask to allow them time to think. Break eye contact. And, look down at your paper ready to write.
- Use memory joggers. For example, there are certain life events that trigger people to think about insurance. Anyone who is getting married, buying a new house, buying a new car, having a kid, retiring, or changing jobs is a great prospect. Ask who they know in each of these categories.
The number one way to get referrals is to give someone any opportunity to give them to you. If you are not asking, start there. Then, work on your attitude. You must expect to collect names and numbers. Next, use the above techniques. You will be amazed by how many referrals you get!
Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.