Episode 117: The Best & Easiest Way to Ask for Referrals – Transcript
Hi folks, welcome to Episode 117 of the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. This is where we talk about money tips, techniques, attitudes, information, and provide inspiration around your business and your money. I'm your host, Rennie Gabriel. In past episodes, we spoke about how to understand the numbers from your business, how to measure the level of pleasure based on where you spend your money, how to track your money in 5 - 10 seconds, and what determines how close you are to Complete Financial Choice™, and how to run your business without being in your business. We've had wonderful guests - best-selling authors, successful entrepreneurs, effective corporate trainers, and other financial planners and accountants. And back on Episode 110, I spoke about Powerful Marketing On Any Income, how you can easily find more of your best clients with almost no marketing budget by focusing on the groups where your clients gather. I spoke about how you'd understand what your best clients look like, and determine your most profitable clients. In this episode, you'll hear the best and easiest way to ask for referrals in only one or two sentences. And at the same time, you'll make people feel good to help you, it'll be a little longer than usual, probably a little over 20 minutes. At the end of this broadcast, you'll hear how to get a copy of the script you can use - so stay tuned.
As I've said before, based on my 50 years of marketing experience, I've tried many concepts and shiny objects I've come to recognize there is one method of asking for referrals that is better than anything else. It stood the test of time in creating an ongoing stream of great clients, and it can do the same for you. Let's get right to it.
Marketing and Business legend Bill Glazer once said, The single easiest way to double any business is for each customer to bring a customer. According to the book Referral Engine by John Jantsch, almost 80% of business owners and sales professionals surveyed admit to have no system for getting referrals. That's 8 out of 10 professionals have no system to get referrals. And I suspect if we dig deeper into the 20%, who said they have a system, we would find some kidding themselves or outright lying to sound good, and others with some methods undeserving of the term system. I promise to explain to you the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to grow your business, sales and profits. And this is the least understood and most overlooked method to acquire clients. Businesses fail for all sorts of reasons from lack of capital to a poor business plan or uncontrolled expenses. But the primary reason is not keeping a consistent flow of new customers or clients and retaining the current ones who are buying your products or services. Referrals are the easiest and least expensive method to create this lifeblood of your business. Either you choose to ask for referrals, or you choose to struggle. The one reason people become an entrepreneur is to create freedom. You need to ask yourself if the next decision will contribute to your freedom or restrict your freedom. If you could choose between advertising on billboards, TV, radio, social media, newspapers, magazines, trade shows, direct mail and more at the cost of 10s of 1000s of dollars, or asking for referrals, which costs practically nothing - which would you choose?
And why are referrals the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to generate sales that grow your business profits? 1 - Because people are more likely to do business with those who have been referred to them from someone they know like and trust. It drastically reduces the time that it takes for someone to get to know you. There's also an assumed level of endorsement with a referral. 2 - The cost to acquire a referral is between zero and the cost of a meal, unlike traditional methods. 3 - You appear to be an authority instead of just another salesperson however, you want to be sure the person referring you also has a good reputation. 4 - If you take care of your clients and have a quality product or service, then the person who refers you looks like a hero. Obviously, if you don't take care of your clients, you don't deserve the referrals. And number 5 - Customers who are referred to you will buy in larger amounts and more often, because of the initial trust bond and the implied endorsement. My wife and I invested $400,000 9 years ago with someone on the basis of a referral and it turned out to be a great and profitable experience.
Here's why you may not be getting enough referrals and what to do to transform them. 1 - You may not be aware how much just one average referral is worth. Compare your usual sale to those that come from a referral. It will typically be larger as an initial sale, and have a larger lifetime value from the repeat sales. 2 - You might not have articulated why a customer or client should choose you or your product or service over that of a competitor. Write down and speak how you're better than a competitor. Create your USP that stands for unique selling proposition. 3 - You may not be promoting your difference in every place a client may see it - from your business card to your website to your email signature box. Strong top of mind awareness leads to more referrals, so promote your strengths. #4 Are you sending personal thank you notes or gifts? Gift examples could be imprinted pads or pens, to mouse pads, coffee mugs or golf balls. If not acknowledge your clients as a routine business activity. 5 - You may not be nurturing your current clients or customer relationships. This is how you lose both a current client and their referrals. Would you return to a restaurant or a store where you were given bad service? Of course not. You want to treat your clients as you want to be treated, you want to return calls quickly and fulfill your promises. You want to resolve problems so that the client tells you that they're satisfied. You want to thank your client for doing business with you, and thank them for each referral. Anticipate your client's need instead of just waiting for them to ask. Ask yourself, would I want to do business with me? And when I refer business to someone like me? Let your client know the results of your interaction with whoever they refer to you. This is obvious, but you must follow up on each and every referral unless you don't want anymore. And you want to offend the client that gave you the referral. #6 - Are you asking for referrals on a regular basis? It may be scary at first, but with the script that I'll provide to you, you'll see it's easy, and can be used at every single interaction with clients and even non-clients. Why? Because your clients also meet new people on a regular basis. The largest sale I made when I started in the insurance business was the referral from someone who was not a client. As another example, a CPA source would give me a new referral every single time I took him to lunch. This was back when I had a pension administration company.
7 - The most common reasons you might have for not getting enough referrals is because one, you're afraid to ask because you don't know how. Or you don't want to be rejected, or you don't want to impose. And that's a feeling a feeling that you don't want to impose on the relationship with a customer or a client. Maybe you don't want to come across as pushy or you don't want to appear needy or you don't know how to ask for referrals. Well we're going to solve that. Every one of these excuses is a self-imposed limitation. There are only two fears that we're born with. The fear of loud noises and the fear of falling everything else is made up from our experiences, which you can change. Again, I'll give you a script that is honest, and that you can use at every interaction and meeting with a client or prospect. And you can practice on anyone from your mate to an associate or a business partner. If you keep your clients happy, you can ask for referrals and expect to get them. If you let your clients know you appreciate their business - again, you can expect they will give you referrals - if you ask. You can create top of mind awareness through handwritten notes, cards on special occasions, personalized incentive gifts, and perhaps even offer a discount to the person who gives you a referral. I usually received plenty of referrals when I asked without offering gifts or discounts. However, I know others who do make those offers. Other examples are to list the names of clients who give referrals to you on your website, on a display at your office, or in a newsletter. That's a choice you can make.
The point is to make asking for referrals, a habit, like bathing, if you don't ask, you should not feel complete. If you choose, you can ask - what can I do so that I would deserve to receive referrals from you? As you can guess, this is where you're not sure how the client feels about you, or they're not satisfied over something that you need to correct. Here, you're not asking for a referral, but what you need to do to earn a referral. Personally, I go on the assumption that my clients are satisfied and just ask for the referrals. Again, I will provide a script that you can use that is honest in every situation.
The referral script is two short and easy sentences. I heard it from Mark Sheer, who many years ago trained salespeople in the financial industry. It gets 10 times the results as any other method, but it must be used word for word. Your first sentence is 'I'm expanding my business and I need your help.' When you ask someone for their help, instead of their partnership or support, you're placing them in a position superior to you. This makes the people you ask feel good about themselves. Don't you want people to feel good when they're working with you? Also, if you just started in business yesterday, would it be honest to say you're expanding your business? Of course, that would still be an honest statement? If you've been in business for 40 years, could it still be honest to say you're expanding your business? Again, the answer would be yes. In the next sentence. So that's sentence number one.
In the next sentence, you'll describe the kind of person you're looking for. This sentence starts with - "who do you know who...?' And this is where you proceed to describe the type of clients you're looking for their family situation, income level, interest, occupation, whatever you want to describe your prospect, and not what you want to sell. As an example, don't ask something like, who do you know who wants to buy a new home? Or who do you know who wants to buy life insurance? That would be pretty silly, wouldn't it? How could they possibly know who would want to buy life insurance or a new house when they're not even in that business? Better examples would be instead, who do you know who owns a successful business or is a successful entrepreneur? Or who just had an addition to their family? Or who just got a divorce? Or who just got a promotion at work orr started their own business? Or who do you know who's within five years of retirement? Describe the characteristics of the clients you're looking to meet? In these descriptions people are prospects for either life insurance, or housing changes. If you're looking for professionals as your clients, you could ask, Who do you know who is a successful doctor, attorney or a CPA who has clients that own their own businesses or our real estate investors or specializes in executives in high-tech companies? For your business or industry write a list of the characteristics of your best clients, the ones you want to have more of. Who else can you go to?
By the way, when you ask for referrals, you want to do this by phone or in person. This is not something to do by email. #1 - Your past clients ought to be among your greatest supporters. So make a list of your top 20 to 25 clients and set a time to meet with each of them to let them know that you're expanding your business. When you recognize that one referral can be worth thousands of dollars, this is time well spent. 2 - Go to centers of influence. A center of influence is someone who has influence over many people, and they can provide many referrals. Examples would be accountants, attorneys, financial planners, bankers, realtors, and so on. As an example, if you're a realtor, a good center of influence for you might be a divorce attorney. Many people who get divorced sell their home, that means someone will be listing a home for sale, and possibly purchasing one or two different homes. If a divorce attorney has confidence in your abilities, it makes referrals to their clients easy.
How to make the referral even stronger? Oftentimes, when you call the person who you've been referred to, they're not expecting your call. Below is a conversation you can have with your client, or the person that gave you the referral to make the connection even better. To upgrade the quality of the referral, ask some questions to support your efforts. If you have a decent relationship with your client, or contact because you've done the things to make them happy, like sending thank you notes or responding quickly, solving problems... Doing what you say you will do you know what I'm talking about? There will be no hesitation when you ask the following questions. Why do you think - the name of the referral they're providing to you - why do you think they would be interested in my product or service? This will help you see if there's a pain point you can address when you call the referral. 2 - Will you please let me have both their best email and best phone number? And 3 - Will you please do a favor for me? Would you be willing to call Bill, Mary, whatever... and let them know I'll be calling him or her. In the past, if I only got one or two referrals, my client will call them right there while I'm sitting with them. They may have even handed the phone to me and all I have to do is set a time to either call them or visit them. On one visit with a new client when I asked for referrals, he gave me 17 people to reach out to. With that many referrals, I had to set up a more structured process. I sent a handwritten note to each of the 17 people and provided updates to my client on my progress. This was obviously before the invention of email. Well, maybe it's not obvious, but it was before the invention of email. But personalized handwritten notes are still the best. If the introduction call was not made on the spot, then when you call the referral, ask them - did my client, whatever their name is, let you know I would be calling you?
Now, this is very important. Do not attempt to sell anything on this call. The point of this call is to set a time to either speak or meet with this referral at a later time. You're a professional and you want to respect the time of the person that you're calling. And here's what you do on that first call. First, number one, ask, is this a good time to speak for a few moments? If they say yes, then let them know how or why you were referred to them and ask some questions to qualify them as a good prospect and set up a time to meet or have a sales conversation. If no, if they say no, then ask asking, when is a better time for us to speak or meet? And offer a choice of times when you're available. As an example, 'I'm available to call you back or meet on Tuesday at 10am, or Wednesday at 3pm - will either of those work for you?' Negotiate a time they can commit to, if your times will not work for them. On the call, or the meeting, if that's what you set up. 1 - You must call or contact or visit them at the time you agreed to. 9 times out of 10 when I set up a specific time for a salesperson to get back to me, and they don't follow through - I'm not happy. I set the time aside, and they ignored the commitment. They now have little credibility in my eyes. 2 - When you call next or meet at that agreed upon time, you can now ask some qualifying questions so that you and your prospect will both determine what to do next.
What I found that works well for me was to send a personalized handwritten note to the referral. Handwritten notes stand out and I have stationery for both this function and for thank you notes to send to clients or anyone where I want to be top of mind. Another way to reach out is by email to the referral. Obviously, an email address was one of the contact items I requested for my current client or contact. And I would send a copy of the email to the person who referred me. That way I keep my client or my contact updated, and the referral can see the name of the person who referred me in both the email text and as a CC. The email would be short and something like the following. Hi, whatever. Hi, Bill, Mary, I was recently speaking with the name of the referrer and he or she mentioned your name when I said I was expanding my business and suggested I should reach out to you. Please let me know when would be a good day or time to have a brief chat to see if - my ideas, the work I do, my services, whatever- would support you. You can even use the link below to set a time on my calendar, if that would be more convenient for you. Sincerely, Rennie Gabriel, the world's greatest business coach, CPA, JD CFP, what, however, you want to sign your name. So that's the email that would go to the person you've been referred to.
We are now coming to the end of this broadcast and it's best if you write down the plans, actions, or steps you'll take to ask for referrals. Including speaking with the person who will hold you accountable for doing what you said you would do. As I said at the beginning of this broadcast, you'll hear not only how to get the form to help you list your best clients, but you can also get all of the research questions and the best referral script as well. Just send an email or log on to my website. If you send an email, send it to email@example.com with best client in the subject line and I'll reply with the entire script to this show, the best client form and the simple email text. Again, you can also just go to wealthonanyincome.com and it's a free resource and you can just download it. Thank you for listening, and or watching if you're seeing this on YouTube. And to my listeners, thank you for tuning in. Next week, we'll have Burke Franklin, the creator of Biz Plan Builder, which are templates that have helped over 2 million entrepreneurs raise money. You can listen to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast on your favorite platform and please rate review, and subscribe. Again. If you'd like the complete transcript of today's broadcast, including the form to list your best clients you can do that easily from our website. Just log on to wealthonanyincome.com and get the Free Forms under the Products tab or send an email to me with best client in the subject line. Until next week, be prosperous. Bye bye for now.