Yes, you read that right. This post is about giving referrals. The best way to get referrals is to give them, particularly if you belong to a networking group. Here is why:
• When you give a referral, the recipient feels a sense of obligation to return the favor. Most people will try to reciprocate if they can. The more referrals you give to the recipient, the greater the sense of obligation…to the point where they will apologize for not giving you referrals!
• In networking groups, giving referrals is best way to achieve notoriety quickly. The people who give the most referrals invariably become the most popular and influential people in the group. This notoriety enables them to attract referrals.
So, the challenge becomes: “How to give more referrals?”
Giving a referral is easier said than done. Giving a high quality referral is even more difficult. Below are some of the ideas that were shared at two of my networking groups recently. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to our brainstorming:
1. Put it out there. Talk to your clients about your network. It’s a valuable asset to your clients, and they should understand and appreciate it. While you’re on the subject, ask them if they need any trusted professionals.
2. Think / Concern / Help. A financial planner gave me this outstanding script for talking to your clients about a referral. It works for him, and it works for me. It will work for you as well, because it’s sincere. Here it is: “I’ve been thinking about you since we last met. I’m concerned about (issue). I have a trusted colleague who I think could really help. I haven’t talked to them yet, but I know they would be happy to speak with you.”
3. Add it to your discovery/engagement process. List the trusted professional roles, and ask if the clients are satisfied with their work.
a. Alternative #1: Ask if the client “would like a second opinion?”
b. Alternative #2: Ask if the client “would enthusiastically re-hire all of them?”
4. Don’t Expect Reciprocity. The people you refer to your clients may not be in a position to refer clients to you. Reciprocal relationships are ideal, but not always possible. Make the referral anyway, because it benefits your clients. Then have them read this post! In addition, you can ask the recipient for something else in return: a speaking opportunity, a discount on their services, or perhaps an introduction to a V.I.P.
5. Power partners. Carefully vet power partners so you can refer with confidence. Then collaborate with them on events and other marketing activities. This enables you to generate more business collectively than you could on your own.
6. Referral as a Service. Treat the referral as if it was an extension of your services to your client (because it is). This means that you must trust the provider. Arrange and participate in meetings between the client and the provider as needed.
7. Know Thy Client. The more you get to know your client or customer, the more they will recognize you as a trusted resource in their lives, not just your professional relationship. If you know them on a personal level, learn about them as a professional. If you know them as a professional, get to know them as a person. When clients see that you are genuinely interested in them, the trust factor goes through the roof and you are in a stronger position to connect them with the right professionals.
Please note that this only applies when referrals are done in the client’s best interests, and you are connecting them with other professionals whom you trust. Be sincere, be authentic, and always put clients first.
If you’re interested growing your law firm via referrals, take a look at the Attorney Referral Formula™. It’s a 5 step guide to getting more referrals naturally and ethically. You can find it here.
To your success,