One of the first things I talk about with new clients is how to increase business through referrals. Unfortunately for most business owners and salespeople, this is something they struggle with everyday. What if it was made easy? How much would your business increase if you were provided one referral from every existing client? Even better, what if they made a quality introduction for you to a new potential client?
The difference between a referral and a quality introduction is simple. A referral is a lead passed on from a client that he thinks you should meet, typically including the individuals name and number. However, this ends up being a glorified “cold call” most of the time. A quality introduction, on the other hand, is a completely different situation. This is an introduction by your client where he provides information about how you met, why he uses your products or services, and most importantly how you helped him solve a problem or get results.
Now that the difference between a referral and a quality introduction has been established, we need to eliminate the “head trash” we all live with everyday. I define “head trash” as the reservations, fears and past experiences that keep us from thinking and acting clearly to achieve the results we desire. For example, if you aren’t currently comfortable being asked for a referral from an associate, chances are you won’t feel comfortable asking for one yourself. Another important factor in removing “head trash” is your belief. You must truly believe that you are the best and most qualified individual in your industry and that everyone is better off working with you more than anyone else.
Now all you need to do is put the two parts together. Get rid of your head trash by believing that you are helping others by asking for the referral and then upgrading the introduction by preparing the client on how to introduce you. For example, after asking a client for an introduction, he might say “I have a great lead for you. Here’s his name and number.” I now have to move the referral to a quality introduction by asking some background questions on the lead and replying, “Thank you, would you do me a personal favor? Would you call your friend and give them a little background on how we met, why we started working together and the results you’ve achieved working with me? Also, at the end of your conversation, would you make sure that he will accept my call?” In some cases I will actually role-play the conversation with my client to insure he knows how to handle the introduction properly.
Try to eliminate the “head trash” and try out this approach with your happiest clients. You’ll see the difference in the introductions you receive, how receptive they are to meet with you and most importantly, their interest in doing business with you.