What Does It Really Take to Generate Referrals?

Last week at Mind Masters I posed that question about generating referrals. It came out of one my own experiences that week from a member I had 30 years ago.

Their referral was for a “partner” the sisters were bringing into the business and felt what they had received from Mind Masters to build their practice would help this person be better prepared to take on marketing and growing herself. You see it wasn’t about how to be a chiropractor but about how to grow her business.

In marketing, getting referrals is a primary tactic for generating new business. But building a foundation that automatically generates referral momentum is not done through external actions – like so many things in life, you do it from the inside out. Plain and simple the most widely referred businesses are purely more referable.

We all know that giving referrals is one of the best ways to get referrals, but the difference lies in the systematic preparation. There is a big difference between understanding this philosophically and practicing proactively. Building your back pocket with a group of “best of class” providers takes work. You’ve got to discover, recruit, train and build the trust necessary to develop a proven network of providers who can help you add value to your client relationships, but once you do, the rest is pretty easy.

The word trust is easy to use and even easier to lose. But, as Stephen M.R. Covey so correctly points out in his book, The Speed of Trust – trust is a hard currency and asset. Trust impacts how fast things are done and how much they cost. It is so much easier and less expensive to refer a business that keeps its promises.

Realize that it’s not just about the product and service you sell, it’s equally about the total experience – the marketing, the message, the people, the processes, the delivery are all carefully considered as props integral to a successful customer experience.

The key here is to work tirelessly to understand, quantify and enhance the value your customer receives and the rest will take care of itself.
So how do you create a way to generate more referrals from happy customers?

Let me suggest the areas to focus on:

1. Performance – Builds value and trust
2. Visibility and Communication – Make sure people remember you and understand what you do.
3. Just Ask – And you shall receive
4. Endorsements – Build on the relationships you already have
5. Professional Referrals – Build a network of influencers
6. Building Relationships – Build good feelings with clients

This all requires a system in order to create a way to make referrals happen, a set way to educate and collect from referral sources and a rock solid follow-up plan. Once in place, all you need to do is operate the system. Referral marketing gets a lot easier when you view it this way.

The Challenge: Is your referral system in place? Check your system and enhance any area that is lagging in order to create a way to make referrals happen more easily.