You have just read the title of this article and you are wondering: Could this really be possible and doable? The answer is absolutely yes. But it definitely will not work if you follow the acceptable and traditional ways of getting referrals.
As most of you know, referrals are the Holy Grail of marketing. Nothing beats them. Nothing!
So first, let’s go over some of the tremendous benefits you and your practice will receive by implementing a referral strategy:
Referrals cost you almost nothing to acquire.
Your sales frequently will be larger and easier.
Price will be less of an issue.
Your entire sales process will move faster, and your closing ratio will be much higher.
You will stop getting only a few referrals that are based on luck or hit-and-miss requests.
You will have a systematic strategy to get referrals continuously.
A workable strategy will substantially lower your fear of asking for referrals. (You might even start enjoying it.)
You will have peace of mind in knowing you have a steady flow of new prospects.
You will be able to build and expand your practice much faster.
A paradigm shift is the first thing that must happen in order for you to obtain eight or more referrals consistently from most of your prospects or clients. What is a paradigm shift? In a general sense, it’s the way you perceive and interpret the world. It is a breakthrough from tradition – old ways of thinking and old paradigms. In this case, it is a shift of how you view the transaction as a whole.
You also will need a different understanding of your main goal or objective when you interact with the prospect or client. If this paradigm shift does not happen and become internalized, you will continue to get referrals in a very random way or not at all.
So what is your new No. 1 objective? It is to obtain referrals – not to make the sale, get the check, build trust and friendship, get a second appointment, gather financial data and personal information, or any other objective.
The reason referrals are so important and crucial is that if for some reason you do not finalize the transaction or make the sale – at least you have new people to contact. Also, who doesn’t want to obtain eight or more referrals almost every time they meet a prospect or client?
Another old paradigm that must be changed or eliminated is the idea that you must build trust or friendship, usually over a long period of time, to obtain referrals. You also need, according to the so-called referral experts, to spend a lot of time, energy and money developing that trust. And then maybe you will get referrals. Does it really have to take that long? Do you really have to spend that much money and time?
In his books, seminars and speeches, Tony Robbins repeats the idea that changing your beliefs can happen in a moment. It can happen now, or it can happen 10 years from now. You control when it will happen. The same is true for acquiring eight or more referrals. If you think it is a long, frustrating, uncomfortable and expensive process, you are right. If you think it is easy, fun and can be done with almost every prospect or client, you are right about that too.
The last idea that goes against conventional wisdom and must change is the idea that you need to qualify the referrals. The question that comes up here is this: Do you or the client know which referral will end up doing business with you? The answer is no. If that is the case, then referral gathering is really a random process. More about this later.
The action plan to get eight or more referrals is a conversation you have with your prospect or client. Most prospects and clients want to help you succeed but do not know how and why. That is the purpose of the conversation. Master it and you will get the referrals, most of the time, from every prospect or client.
The first brief conversation will always take place during your first meeting – the sooner the better. This conversation is about the way you are compensated.
Why is this conversation so important? Because here you will introduce and plant the seed of how important referrals are to your business. Referrals, remember, are your No. 1 objective. First, explain to your clients how you get paid. Is it by commission, hourly rate, flat fee, percentage of assets under management or some other method?
And you continue by saying that your long-term goal and your purpose are to provide exceptional service. In order to achieve this, your business must grow. From all the methods that are available to you to grow your business and give your clients the future service they deserve, none of them can rival growing your business through referrals. None of them!
At this point, if there are no questions, you say you will come back to the subject of referrals later. Continue with your presentation, data gathering or whatever is on your agenda for the first meeting.
The second conversation always takes place after you make the sale, or even if you did not make the sale. This conversation is an absolute must if you want to get the referral results you deserve. This conversation will be very challenging. If you have just made the sale, you are now on a high. Your tendency and impulse, at this moment, are to run for the door, go to the next appointment or do any other activity.
Now, instead of rushing to finish the meeting and disengaging as you have always done after the sale, you know that your moment of truth has arrived. You have to muster all the courage and strength that you have at this moment. You become very calm and totally relaxed, with a big smile on your face. You remember with clarity and passion that your main objective is getting eight or more referrals. Now is just the beginning of the most exciting and challenging part of the meeting.
You take out your printed referrals sheet and lay it on the table so the client can see it. On both sides is written eight times “Referred Name(s)” and below that is written “Phone Number,” with a long line to the right.
The second conversation starts with telling the client why you are asking for eight or more referrals. Do not continue until he agrees that it makes sense to him. Then you explain why you are asking for a random eight or more names. The reason is that the client does not know which referral will end up doing business with you. The second reason is that if you start qualifying the referrals you want, most of the time your client will reply with those dreaded words “Let me think about it and get back to you with the names and phone numbers.” If you have been in sales for any length of time, you know that “getting back to you” will rarely happen.
The third conversation centers on who contacts the client first after you receive the names. You absolutely want to control this situation, if it is possible, because it will result in more appointments for you.
When you master these conversations, the result will be a tremendous benefit to your bottom line.