Frankly, I don’t get asked the question in the title to this post near enough!
Most small business owners, if they think referrals at all, think of the world as their target. “Know anybody that needs what we do?” – That’s the referral marketing strategy of choice.
Well, here’s the answer to the referral question you should be asking.
Target the clients that have already demonstrated a willingness to refer you. I know that sound simplistic, but nobody does it. Most small business owners get the majority of their business by way of referral from a handful of clients. Go to those clients, invite their participation your marketing plans, find out what would really motivate them to become referral machines, create tools that will make it even easier for them to refer you, teach them how to refer you, and stay top of mind with them so they always think of you when a referral opportunity wanders by. And, really, really demonstrate your appreciation.
Don’t worry too much about trying to get everyone on board the referral train, focus on those who already get it. Lavish them with your marketing attention for a while and you will find that even more of your clients will want to join the referral team.