The Right Way to Ask for Referrals

Marketing Tip:  Suggest Groups and Connections

When money is tight and you need new business, do three things. Continue to provide excellent service to your existing customers, far above what they pay for, ask how you can help them and then ask for referrals.

Shaking hands after disagreement to relieve stressCheck and make sure you have happy clients and when discussing how pleased they are, use that time to ask if they would be willing to spread the word about your product or service to colleagues or associates.

The key, according to referral expert Bill Cates, is to suggest where they might find prospects for referrals. Suggest: "Perhaps there is someone in your rotary club or church, your gym or chamber group." Then sit back and listen as they start to rattle off names and numbers. Write it all down, including the referrer's relationship to the prospect.

If they do give you referral prospects, follow-up immediately with the prospect and thank the referrer. Send them a handwritten note, a gift or referral fee to express your gratitude.

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