Posted by: Bill von Achen | November 12, 2010

Building Your Business Through Referrals

Referrals often represent a major source of new business opportunities. But asking for referrals is often the last strategy that executives employ in their effort to build their business. Whether out of shyness or fear of offending, many of us would rather exert considerably more energy in approaching a total stranger than implementing a strategy to increase the number of business referrals that we receive.

If you’re one of those who have a fear of asking for referrals, here are four tried-and-true ways to increase the number of referrals that you receive:

Ask your clients: Go ahead, ask! Sales consultant Dan Tyler says that 86% of clients will give a referral if they’re requested to do so, but that only 12% are ever asked. That means that the majority of your satisfied clients would be happy to oblige, if you only asked.

Ask your network: Beyond satisfied clients, everyone within your professional and personal network has the potential to provide you with referrals. Sometimes, we shy away from asking those in our network for fear that we’ll compromise our relationship with them. But, no reasonable person will be offended by a simple request to refer suitable clients in appropriate situations.

Get involved: Active involvement in virtually any community or non-profit activity allows you to demonstrate a professionalism beyond the scope of your daily work, and gives others a sample of how you conduct yourself in business. And involvement in community affairs is not just good for business, but it’s good for your emotional wellbeing as well.

Give referrals to others: Lastly, one of the best ways to ensure that others give you referrals is to give them to others first. People are more likely to respond favorably to your request for help when you’ve gone out of your way to help them. It’s a truism, but nonetheless true, that you can always get what you want by first helping other people get what they want.

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