During a time when morale might be slightly lower than normal – after many extended festive breaks – it’s important to continue on this path as best you can. However, a new year is also a good time for some reflection and planning.
Which leads me to one area which I believe intermediaries could benefit from in 2020, and that is: how to better identify and maximise referrals.
Intermediaries always tell me that most, if not all, of their business comes via referrals.
However, this is not something that just happens; after all, you have to be referable in the first case. And the art of referrals is more complex than you might imagine.
For example, do you know how many potential clients have been recommended to you by their friends or colleagues? Do you also have any idea how many of these never made contact, and why?
Let me also pose the question; do you know why new clients – those who have been referred to you –actually got in contact with you, rather than any of the other alternative recommendations they may have received?
The art of referral is not straightforward and if you are already getting lots of referrals then of course you must be doing something right.
But, how would you feel about getting more? How happy would you be if you suddenly got a string of new referrals knocking on your door or calling you?
Pretty damn good I would imagine. So, here are a few things to consider when it comes to bolstering your referral business.
Get to know the source
Get to know who referred you. This is important as it can make you revisit things with certain clients that you obviously did right and repeat them.
Why not also send them a message or even a small gift to thank them for taking the time to refer you. A very simple expression of appreciation could help encourage more referrals in the future.
Stay in touch
This follows on nicely from the previous point – stay in touch with existing clients. It doesn’t have to be every day, every week or even every month.
A card on their birthday or message after completing their first year in their new home will do the job. You can do this by email, text, phone or simply connecting with clients on LinkedIn and posting updates from time to time.
Make a list and check it more than twice
Keep a list of clients who have been referring you. This will make it easier for you to thank them and will also provide you with a list of clients who may not have referred you. There may, or may not, be a reason for this but at least it offers some kind of reference point.
Don’t be afraid to ask why
It’s always beneficial to know why a new client contacted you. Don’t just stop at “a friend recommended you”. Ask a few more questions to understand why you, who else they may have contacted or considered and if they checked your credentials online beforehand before the initial contact was made.
I mentioned LinkedIn earlier and it’s important to make sure you are connected – where possible – to your clients on LinkedIn. Potential clients are more likely to make contact with you if they see that you are connected to people they know. It’s all about trust.