As you put your 2012 business and marketing plans into action, what are your plans for attracting referrals this year?
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One of the biggest reasons we do not attracts more referrals than we do is because we do not have a formal, written plan on how we will attract them. Just like business plans and financial plans, achieving your goals with referral marketing begins with a plan. To help you get started, here are five things you can include in your plan that will help you attract referrals.
1. Ask your clients how they describe you – Referrals happen when your clients mention you to their friends and business associates. (Not when you ask for them.) For that referral to turn into a client, what your clients tell their friends needs to be accurate and compelling. Is it? This can also be a great way to find out what your clients believe is most valuable about what you do for them.
2. Make sure your clients know your ideal prospect – When your clients send you referrals, are they the people you most want to attract as clients? If not, then your clients don't know who you are looking for. Helping them understand your ideal prospect is a great way to let them know you are trying to make your practice grow and to gently remind them that you would appreciate referrals without putting them on the spot by asking for names and numbers. And, of course, it helps them be aware of who the best referrals would be.
3. Change one thing in your practice based on client feedback – Sometimes it is what we do and sometimes it is how we do it, but there is always a way we can improve what we do that will make clients more excited. And the more we tailor what we do to what our clients want most, the more loyal they will be and the more enthusiastically they will refer us. Look through client survey data or ask your advisory board
for clues about how you can improve.
4. Stop doing one thing that doesn't add value – We all do things that clients perceive makes us valuable and things that clients don't particularly care about. Dropping something that does not add value frees up time to do more of what clients really value.
5. Ask centers of influence who they are ideal clients would be – Asking COIs about their specialties, unique skills, and ideal prospects opens the opportunity to talk about your unique value and ideal clients. It also demonstrates that you can be an asset in helping them build their business. It will not guarantee that you will get referrals, but it is the most productive approach.
If you want to be successful in attracting referrals, start with a well thought out referral marketing plan. These ideas can help you get started.