All good marketing starts with a benefit to the prospect in mind. Yet, I often find people are reluctant to ask straight up for referrals out of a fear of looking needy or infringing in some manner upon the relationship with the client.
I think the reason that this fear exists is because of the improper way most people have learned to ask for referrals.
Most business owners position the asking of referrals as a favor to the asker. Kind of like, we need your help. As much as people like to help, there’s really no benefit in that kind of ask.
Here’s what I mean:
Many businesses try to rationalize asking for referrals by suggesting that they need more clients just like you – this is how I work or if you provide me with referrals I can spend more time working with you. The problem with both of these ways to frame referrals is that they are all about you. I need your help. I work like this.
One of the keys to becoming a referral magnet (actually the key to any marketing message) is to frame it as a benefit. When you are talking to an existing client the benefit of a referral is the opportunity to help that person help a friend or raise their value with a colleague.
So, how could referring you make your client’s life better? That’s the proper way to start thinking about referrals. Do that, and you will never be afraid to ask a client again.
Now you are not asking your clients for help – you are offering to help them get more of what they want. Use your expertise to make them look good, add value and enhance their status – now that’s a winning proposition.
Finally, make sure that you communicate your willingness to make yourself available to help them reach their goals. Tell them so in every form of communication.