A couple times over this summer, I have written about how it’s a good time for business owners to take stock of what they do in their business with an aim to shifting things toward securing more time off. Although I do firmly believe that this is something that virtually every business owner can do no matter their situation, at some point you reach a point where you need more clients to make more money to pay people to do the work you no longer are doing. A lot of attention is paid nowadays to how to do this through the new digital and social media landscapes, and although that is valuable, I think many people also lose the view of how important an old-fashioned referral can be. After all, what better advertising is there ever than a first-hand account from a trusted friend?
Most businesses see at least some referrals naturally. If your clients are pleased with your services, and they know of someone seeking similar services, it is natural for them to bring up your name. It is possible to coax out more of them, though.
First, when you have discussions with clients, make asking for referrals part of the conversation. It is one thing to wait for them to have serendipitous moments when someone they know brings up what you do, it is another to push them toward thinking about what you do. If you frame different ways to discuss what you do and what you can offer, you can make them think about who could use your services without needing that direct ask from someone else.
The best way to do this can be discussing what types of problems you can solve. For example, it’s one thing for us to say “Oh, we do accounting and bookkeeping,” and another to say, ”We get you time back to focus on the parts of your business you enjoy.”
Secondly, do not neglect new clients when seeking referrals, as well. These are the people who have one of those problems that you solved. Ideally, they are very excited that you helped them with it. This type of exuberance can be of great value when trying to sell others on your services, too. So again, this is just another place where if you make referrals part of your general conversation with clients, you can have these new people help spread your word.
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