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Encouraging Referrals From Customers and Clients
Great work is often rewarded when customers or clients refer those responsible to peers who also have a need for the same quality performance.
As valuable as they are, referrals are usually hit or miss and can’t be relied on to happen. Referrals are like an unexpected gift. When they happen, we are delighted, but they are nearly impossible to manufacture.
The common advice for those desiring more referrals is to ask for them. Being bold and requesting a referral, we are told by the experts, is a surefire way to get more of them.
Unfortunately, it is a foolproof way of being viewed as pushy, even obnoxious. Customers and clients prefer to make referrals if and when they believe they are warranted. Asking for them can sometimes change the complexion of the relationship, shifting it from authentic connection to transaction.
Encouraging referrals more indirectly without the risk of harming the relationship requires a more nuanced approach.
For instance, those seeking referrals in any customer-focused enterprise will find that expressing gratitude for the work is often paid back with referrals. Customers and clients like to be thanked for their business. When the appreciation is sincere and repetitive, they often reward the esteem they experience by telling their industry peers how rewarding it is to work with you.
An even more powerful way to inspire referrals is to beat them to the punch. Referring the customer or client to others you know sets the stage for reciprocity. This can take the form of introductions, endorsements, or simply creating a good buzz about them with others. By referring them first, we often receive more referrals in the future.
Perhaps nothing influences people more than a referral from a trusted source. That’s why referrals are so highly coveted by anyone who does work for customers or clients. Referrals aren’t given easily. But by priming the pump with gratitude and endorsements on their behalf, the resistance to refer your work begins to melt away.
Great work is worth sharing when customers and clients learn you are an appreciative partner who is quick to refer them first.