There is nothing better than word of mouth advertising. Happy clients raving about you is the single most effective way to grow a practice based business. Mortgage brokers, real estate agents and financial planners have known this for years. Thought Leaders should also tap into the business accelerating power of referrals.
Here are five things to think about in creating more referrals:
1. Ask for referrals: When people sign up have them complete a form that provides them the chance to refer. Next time someone gives you praise for what you do, thank them and ask them if they can think of anyone who may also benefit. Don’t just bask in the praise.
2. Focus on six people: We can manage only so many relationships. Find six people who are already working with your ideal clients and start to create value based relationships with them. If you help enough people get what they want then eventually you will get what you want. And remember to sell through them, not to them.
3. Teach people how to refer you: Coach these six people about your positioning but start by understanding theirs. Don't just expect them to refer you. Teach them by example and get them business first.
4. Be great: Honestly the sure fire way to success as a Thought Leader is to keep refining your message and your method. Do good stuff and get better at doing it and you will build a reputation that creates referrals.
5. Don’t be too smart: People don’t refer clever people or charismatic people, they refer reliable people. When your reputation is at stake you want the person to do what they say they will. The basics of say please, say thank you, do what you promise and manage expectations are essential in creating a referral based business.
In summary, get good, get known, sell through six and take care of the basics. And, if you want to build a referral business, ensure you refer others.