How are you building your referral tree? Do you receive and welcome referrals? Many have shared they struggle to ask for referrals or admit they do not receive many referrals. Others have shared they built their business on referrals.
Here are some things that may help. I would encourage you to comment and share your experiences that work for you or did not work so we can all learn from it.
Simply asking a non-intrusive question is a good way once you have a relationship. An example of this type of question can be "Is there anyone you know that could use our services?" If they answer yes, then the next question is "Can you introduce me to them?" With e-mail introductions or LinkedIn introductions it is a simple task to be introduced.
If the person says they do not know anyone just accept it. If the person provides you a name ask if you can use their name. Please do not call on someone and say so-and-so gave me your name if you do not have permission. Read that last sentence again as it is critical in relationship building with your referral tree.
When you attend a networking event, ask people you know if they can introduce you to others they know in the room. Remember, no active selling or promoting your products/services. There is a time and place for that. Be genuine with the introduction, ask for their story and ask if they are interested in your story. Exchange business cards.
A golden rule for building your referral tree: always, always say thank you to the person who sent you the referral or made the introduction. Send them a note to say thank you, either e-mail or actually mail a thank you note. It is not necessary to send a gift card. Yes there are some circumstances where this applies.
Another good rule is to update the referral person because most of the time they know you called or have an appointment with the person they referred. Even if the opportunity does not pan out or if you lose the opportunity to a competitor, remember to update the referral person and to say thank you . No sour grapes.
There are no bad referrals. At the very least, you made a new connection, introduced yourself, told your story and introduced your company. Sometimes they will surprise you and even refer you! Sometimes they will call you in the future and consider your services again.
Referrals are about building relationships. Your referral tree does not have to be just people you do business with and can be anyone in your circle.
How are you building your referral tree?