My Single Best Tip For Getting Referrals

From running business networking groups over the last few years probably the best referral tip I can offer you is this… ask directly for the contacts you are looking for and be specific in what you are asking for.

To help you understand why this is the single biggest best referral tip, let me explain…..when you go to a networking event and have the opportunity to deliver your ‘elevator’ or ’60 second pitch’ you have the following challenges:

  • You have a very short time in which to capture the attention of your audience and compel your audience to take action to help you
  • You are likely to be one of a number of people standing up delivering a pitch, you so you will in effect be ‘competing’ to get the commitment of others to spend their time helping you
  • and thirdly people are busy, whether they are running their own businesses or doing their own jobs

…so, in this short time you need to make it easy for others to help you… let me repeat… make it easy for others to help you.

So how do you make it easy for people to help you?

When you ask for a referral you need to be specific about the referral you want so you focus your audience’s attention and prompt them to take action.

Q: So how specific should you be?

A: The more specific the better. You may have a product or service which could serve anyone, however, if you say ‘I am looking for anyone’ then this will not capture your audiences attention, will not focus their mind and is unlikely to generate a response.

If however you say for example ‘I am looking for contacts with dentists’ already you have focused your audience’s attention and they will more likely to take action.

One stage better ‘I am looking for contacts with dentists in x town.’

Better still though is to say ‘I am looking for contacts with x, y and z dentists.’ Whilst the majority of people may not have the contact you are looking for, those who do have are far more likely to say so and therefore will be compelled to help you. I have seen this theory born out time and time again.

Set yourself up as an expert

The other advantage to being specific is that it can help you to be perceived as an expert in a particular area. So, keeping with the above example, if you have already have had dentists who are satisfied customers you can say so. This will help to reassure your potential referrers that you have expertise in serving this client base and they will be all the more compelled to refer your services.

Specifics which work less well

I have heard some people ask for contacts with ‘companies with a turnover of £1m+’ or ‘companies with more than 50 employees.’ Unfortunately this approach often fails to get results as people don’t necessarily know the turnover of businesses around them or the number of employees unless they work very closely with them.

If you are unable to pinpoint exactly what businesses you would like contact with then you need to do some research. This is your job, not others. How can you expect others to know what contacts you want if you don’t know yourself?

So, the next time you have the opportunity to ask for a referral, see if this is your best referral tip, prepare well and ensure that you have identified 2 or 3 potential customers you would like an introduction to. Try it…it works!