Guest Post By: Emmie Brown
Some people don’t get enough referrals. It could be because they don’t ask for referrals. They may also have some weird or even passive way of asking. Then there are ways of just not asking effectively. For example, “Here’s my business card, if you can think of anyone, let me know.” Or, they may ask, “Do you know of anyone who…” the natural response to that is, “No, I can’t think of anyone right now.”
The way you ask for referrals determines if you get a lot of referrals. A lot of people will say they are getting a lot of referrals each week, and that a few each week are enough. You should expect to get at least 2 from every appointment you have. I know when I don’t ask for referrals effectively, I don’t get them. I don’t have the connections like everyone else. I get responses like, “I can’t think of anyone.” “Do you have a card, or can you email me?” “If you give me a call next week, I’ll have thought of someone by then.”
Again, if we are hearing those things, we are not asking for those referrals effectively. One principle for asking referrals that you need to know is that for every question you ask, there is a transition, a setup to it, it’s a process to asking for referrals. Another principle you should know is that the easier it is for us to have someone think of someone, the more likely they are to give us referrals.
Here is a technique that makes it easy for people to give you a lot of warm referrals.
The Cell Phone Technique.
Now, when you think about it, the reason why this is so powerful is that we don’t store our numbers in a Rolodex anymore and we don’t store too many in our brains. But where we do store them? On our cell phones, that we always have with us! Our Rolodex will be our cell phone we carry that with us everywhere.
So how this technique works is to first transition. How you can transition here is really simple. At the end of your meeting with someone you’ve just met, wrap up by saying,
“Thank you so much for meeting with me. This has been great! Do you have your cell phone with you?” And they’ll say yes and you wait for them to bring it out and you say, “I want to give you my personal number for you to put in your phone, if you ever need anything, feel free to give me a call!”
Just let them know you will provide for them with anything that they need to make them feel important, as they are. This is a better way to be more personal instead of just handing a business card, that will likely to go in hiding somewhere, never to be seen again. This way you are making them feel special.
This leads to step two; you ask. This is an easy transition because they have their cell phone in their hand, you just have to follow up with saying,
“Who do you know in there who would be open to talking to me?”
And you wait, keep it general, don’t let them rule anyone out, and they naturally will take a look through their phone. They will start scrolling through their contacts, and you will likely get lots of referrals this way. Here’s a little bonus tip for asking: It’s not “Do” it’s “Who” do you know.
Another thing you should do is use memory joggers. As they are thinking and coming up with people, give them examples of who they know in their neighbor. Use memory joggers to get them to think of people that might be a good referral. When you first ask, it’s important that you hush up when you say, “who do you know?” Just be quiet and let them process and think about it! Often times we talk our way out of what they could be thinking about, and not letting them go through with it.
Another tip is simply to ask, “Anyone else?!” Get excited about that first one, but don’t stop there. Another step further is to get pre-approach. Pre-approach is the background information that you want to know before you call someone. A good question to ask is, “How do you know each other, anything unique about that person?” If you ask that you will get some pretty good information and ways to connect with that person when you call them.
Lastly, set it up to be successful. Let them know if they want to give their friend a heads up that you’ll be giving them a call. They can relay how well your meeting went and it’s definitely worth taking your call. If you’re able to get them to text them right away and let them know you’re calling they’re likely going answer your call!
These are some techniques that are going to help you get a lot more referrals and ones that you can work well with! Get to it!
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.