This Halloween is definitely one for the record books. While here in Denver it’s supposed to be close to 70 degrees today, up and down the east coast their greatest fears are coming to light with the perfect storm. As we plan for the little ones’ trick or treating (and maybe some not-so little ones too), it always amazes me how real looking and down right scary some costumes can be. They definitely bring our fears to a whole new level.
Even though a monster, goblin or zombie can make our heart beat a bit faster, the feeling quickly disappears when you shut the door. But what about when your fear is more business related. What about when you’re not quite sure of how to bring referrals into your business?
Asking for referrals isn’t rocket science. You don’t need a degree, special classes or years worth of knowledge. The only thing you truly need is the belief you can do it, and the ability to set up the perfect plan that allows referrals to come flowing into your studio on a regular basis.
Yet most people don’t. And it all comes down to one thing: fear.
If you’re not asking for referrals on a regular basis, the first thing you need to do is identify the reason why. What fear is holding you back from referral marketing? Here are 3 of the top reasons people simply don’t ask for referrals – do you see yourself in one of them?
Fear #1: The Fear of Rejection
One of our top fears is not looking or being good enough. We don’t want to hear that someone doesn’t like what we do. So we avoid the situation all together. If we don’t ask, they can’t say no or tell us how they really feel. But if you stop to think about what response you’ll truly get, you can sum it up in several ways. A client will either tell you they don’t have a referral, will be vague about their response, or bring a name to the table immediately. That’s it. And if that’s all you are expecting, the worse you can get is a “no” or “I don’t know anyone”. Accept the “no’s” and move on. Every once in a while you’ll get the yeses.
Fear #2: The Fear of Looking Needy
We all imagine our businesses at the top of the heap. We’re ultra successful, bringing in everything we need. Yet in how many cases is that true? Have you ever asked a businessperson if they would turn away a potentially great client, and had them say yes? Nope, I’ve never found that person either. But for some people, the idea of asking for a referral equates to them being unsuccessful or needy. Yet that’s the way businesses grow. In this heavily marketed world, people understand that. Its your fear, not reality.
Fear #3: The Fear of Appearing Pushy
Maybe you love your client and would do anything for them. You want them to remain your client forever. And you just know that if you ask for a referral, you’ll push them away. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more a client loves you, the more excited they are to tell the world about you. You simply have to give them the tools to make it possible.
Want to know how to do it effectively?
Set Up Your System
Referrals don’t just happen. They are created. You have to have a plan for your system and have it provide a variety of things. Who will refer you? (It doesn’t have to be clients alone; it can be vendors, complimentary businesses, etc.) What will they say about you? How will you recognize the person doing the referring? The more thought you put into it, the more it will succeed.
Craft Your Message
A referral can be asked for in a variety of ways: a spoken request, a letter, a video. But no matter how you do it, you have to have the perfect message in place. Don’t just “wing it”. Instead, outline it, write it out, and make sure you get all the pieces together and in the right place.
Just like marketing, sales, and even taking photographs, you’ll get better over time. The more practice you have, the better you’ll be. Your first try at asking for a referral may be a little flat. That’s okay. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. And do it again. The second time will be easier than the first. And so on. You’ll eventually have a system in place that works itself, and it will be a normal part of your business routine.