We have all heard the saying, "referrals are the lifeblood of a salesperson's business." This statement is true, and it's true for many different reasons. When a trusted friend refers you, your opportunity to sell is amplified. Referrals must be earned before they are to be expected, yet salespeople often do not know how to build a referral network. When a salesperson asks me, "How can I build a referral network?" I answer with these words:
In other words, it all matters!
In order to build a referral network, you must gain the attention of your target audience and gain the respect and confidence of key influencers in your market. You must establish yourself as an expert who can be relied on to deliver your promises. People must believe in you, the product and service you represent, and feel confident in recommending you to their friends and business associates. This is a direct result of daily actions that build consumer confidence.
"Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you." - Chip Bell
Be present in your community and maintain a high level of visibility. People need to know who you are, what you do, and how they can find you. More importantly, every interaction is your opportunity to gain attention and build your personal brand.
Learn how to utilize social media to bring your name in front of your existing customers, potential customers, and key influencers.
Linked In, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Snap Chat are great places to start. Other methods such as eNewsletters, Blogs, and InfoGraphics are also great mediums to build market awareness and gain referrals for new business.
Look for community causes to get involved in that you are passionate about. Be a contributor to groups and projects that allow you to make an impact. This will improve your social standing and increase the likelihood of people referring you to their networks.
Before you ask for referrals, you must first give to others. Work to be a referral source for others you respect within your community.
In order to build a self-sustaining referral network, you must be the best at what you do. Everything about your efforts and engagement must be impressive to your customers. How will you make yourself stand out from your competition? What are the "little extras" you will become known for that turn your customers into your advertising absence?
You must go above and beyond your customers' expectations to earn these opportunities.
Make a difference today.