Is your business not generating as many referrals as you’d like?
Are your qualified leads dropping off for inexplicable reasons, whilst others in your referral network seem to be going from strength to strength? If these are the type of issues that are troubling your business at the moment then there may either be a problem with your referral network per se, or you may simply be trying to build connections with unsuitable people. If you find yourself in this predicament what can you do to turn the situation around? What actions can you take to make your referral networking strategy more robust? Well, you could try asking yourself the following for starters:
Am I networking with the right sort of people who fully grasp what I have to offer?
It’s inevitable that you’ll find some people are better referrers for your business than others. That’s simply the nature of the beast. The type of contact who refers regularly will do so because they fully understand what it is you do, and will have more of the sort of leads you are looking for than other contacts. Do your contacts really appreciate what you do? Ask them the relevant questions and gauge their responses. If you get the sort of answers you’d expect, then they do: if you don’t, then they don’t either.
Have I asked for business referrals, or am I simply waiting for them to come to me?
If you don’t ask, then generally you won’t get. It’s a simple fact of life. If you appear successful and always say things like ‘yes I’m so busy’ at the moment people will naturally assume that you do not require any more business, and therefore they won’t refer any more business your way. There’s nothing wrong with asking for more referrals, so take every opportunity to do so. The only caveat to that is that you should choose a time to suit you and ask for additional referrals carefully.
Am I specific about the sales referrals I am looking for, or am I being too vague about the type of customer I’m looking for?
Too many people make the mistake of being vague about the type of customers they are looking for, and the result is that the referrals sent their way are often unsuitable. To get the right sort of referrals you need to be more specific. Make sure other members of your referral network know exactly what you do and what added-value services you can offer. If you’re specific and say ’I’m looking for people who want lose weight’, or ‘I’m interested in business that are relocating’ then your contacts will remember you for both for what you do and how you can help other people and you’ll generate a much higher referral rate. Current contacts may not be able to send specific referrals your way straight away, but sooner or later you will find a contact that does.
Am I good enough at what I do, and do customers share this view?
It’s a question that most of us would like to answer positively, saying of course I’m good at what I do, but we can never truly be objective. It’s not our evaluation of the service that matters: it’s our customers’ interpretation. None of us consciously likes to admit that we are not offering a good enough service, however, if people have bought your services but have not given you even a verbal testimonial, or have not recommended you to others, then perhaps we should grasp the nettle and accept that the levels of service we are providing are simply not good enough. If that proves to be the case then you need to do something about it.
Carry out a customer satisfaction survey and look at the replies you receive critically and objectively. It you find that your clients don’t think highly about your service, then ask them how they think the service could be improved. You could also ask them what you would have to do/change for them to recommend your service in the future.