Believe it or not, you really can ask for the
referrals you need without sounding desperate.
The fact of the matter is, sometimes ya just gotta ask. I think that most of us understand the value of a referral from a happy customer, friend or even a member of the family, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Making referrals an ongoing marketing strategy will make it easier.
Just saying that doesn’t make it true, does it? But if you change your attitude about referrals it will make it easier to ask. Steven Canale, a speaker, trainer and author says, “…business referrals are the life-blood of those who are considered truly successful in their chosen profession.”Jeffrey Moses says, “Whenever you have a sales discussion with a new or prospective customer, ask for referrals. This is the standard in business, so don’t be hesitant to do so.”Your customers are expecting you to ask. You don’t need to be shy. The first step to making referrals an ongoing marketing strategy is simple… just ask.
How do I ask without making it sound pushy?
That’s a good question. Here are 5 inconspicuous things you can start doing today to make asking for referrals a normal part of everyday… and not appear pushy.
1) Plant Seeds
The next time you begin a customer relationship with someone, make sure they know referrals are an important part of your business. If they found you via a referral, make sure they know that you prefer to work with referrals and that you’re really happy to be working with them for that reason. Ask them, “How is Steve, I haven’t seen him in a while?”On the other hand, if they are not a referral, point out your willingness to work with them as a special exception. “Normally I work with clients who have been referred to me by someone that I personally know. However, I really think I can help you and am excited to work with you.”By letting all of your clients know that you prefer to work with referred clients you will be preparing them for the request in the future.
2) Look To the Future
Sometimes, when you have a new client it’s awkward to ask for a referral. However, if you ask them to provide a referral for you sometime in the future, you’ll find that resistance to your request will not only be diminished, but might not exist at all.You may ask, “Mr. Smith, if we agree to work together now, and I can successfully handle this transaction to your satisfaction, would you be willing to refer business to me in the future?“Most people will agree to this request. Of course, now you have to do a good job.
3) Remind and Reinforce
Once you’ve prepared them by letting them know you prefer to work with referrals and you’ve done a great job for them, remind them that you would like to work with a referral or two from them.The conversation could go something like this, “Mr. Smith, It sure has been a pleasure to work with you. I hope we can work together again.””By the way, do you know of anyone else who could use my services? After you give them my name or number, make sure they ask for me directly, so I know that you referred them.”You may want to give him some business cards or some other promotional material to give to his friends and business associates in your behalf.
Many businesses find that periodically a phone call asking for referrals is just the ticket. They already know that you prefer to do business with referrals and did a wonderful job for them and others they have referred to you. Sometimes all people need is a little reminder. (By the way, you should be referring your friends and business associates to them as well. Referrals are a two-way street.)
5) Reward the Person Who Gave You the Referral
Make sure you let them know the progress of their referral or at least the successful completion of the transaction. You might also offer to take them to lunch or dinner to thank them for the trust and confidence that they have shown in you and your business.
Okay, this is great, but how do I ask… without asking?
This is where it gets really exciting. This is what I call the “Automatic” referral. The automatic referral is built into your work-flow . A system is a process that has a predictable result because it happens the same way every time. The “Automatic” referral needs to be systematic and transactional not relational. In other words, it needs to be triggered as a part of the transaction, not triggered by your relationship to your client.It’s really easy to build your referral system into your transaction. It could be as easy as a coupon on the back of your statement or invoice thanking them for the order, at the same time asking them for a referral. “I sure appreciate your order. For every client you refer to my office, I’d like to give you a dinner for two at “name of restaurant here.”Of course it doesn’t have to be a restaurant. It could be cash, a credit on their next order, anything that might entice them to offer you a referral. I’ve seen a $5 gift certificate for Chili’s Restaurant bring bank managers out of their offices to sign up new accounts.Determine how much a new customer could be worth… how much you are willing to spend to get one… and then come up with some kind of offer.To show you what I mean, you’ll find that a small business using your Professional Bookkeeping service will create an average billing of $300 per month. Over the next two years, you’ll bill $7200. (If you are also doing their taxes you’ll average an additional $100 per month or $9600 for that same two year period.) I think you’ll agree that the cost of a dinner or other similar reward for referrals is a small price to pay.Institutionalize that referral process, give your clients an incentive to give you a referral, and watch the referrals pour in.
Referrals without begging… does it get any better than this?
In the Professional Bookkeeper program Marketing module, you learn referral gathering techniques and many other ways to bring clients into your Professional Accounting and Tax Preparation business. There’s never been a better time to be a professional bookkeeper or accountant and there’s not a better place to begin than with Universal Accounting Center.If you already have some accounting or tax experience, great. The Professional Bookkeeper program will build upon those skills and teach you how to turn knowledge into life-changing income. Even with some bookkeeping or accounting background, you still may need to learn how to get profitable clients to take on the side or to support a full-time accounting and tax service.If you have never done any clerical, accounting, or tax work before, that’s ok too. The Professional Bookkeeper program assumes nothing about your background. You get training from the ground up. From making basic journal entries to the more advanced accounting reports, you get the training you need to advance your career or start you own successful accounting service. With all the educational tools you need to learn bookkeeping and accounting as well as all the marketing education you’ll need to begin a successful and profitable practice, all you need to do is click on the link below to start your new career today.Show me how easy it is to start a new career in bookkeeping and accounting!
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Having a solid understanding of the Accounting and Bookkeeping methods and procedures is a great first step in learning the concepts behind Financial Business Analysis. You will learn to do books for small to mid-sized companies and how to analyze the books to prepare reports. You will learn to interpret reports so that you can advise your clients how to reduce costs and to better understand their financial standing and profitability. Your clients will look to you as an invaluable source of information about the financial health of their organization.
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