What would your business be like if, instead of spending time and resources trying to chase down and secure new clients, you walked into the office everyday to find a new set of potential clients waiting to talk with you? Would it change the way you do business? Would your attitude toward life/business be different? How would it make you feel?
Many business people begin their businesses by making the choice to build what they hope will become a 100% referral business, but as time goes on that dream seems to give way to the harsh realities of making ends meet month after month. In the end, an occasional referral is great to get, but how to build an entire business eludes most business owners.
If your plan from the beginning was to build a 100% referral business and you have not yet given up on that dream, here are a few suggestions that might well move you forward in the fulfillment of your success plan:
- Learn to do such an excellent job for your current clients that referring you is easy for them to do. If your business practices bring any frustration to your current clients, it will be very difficult for them to refer you with confidence. Make sure that you take care of them and that you deliver on all that you promise.
- Learn to handle the occasional frustrations that occur in business immediately and to the advantage of the customer whenever possible. My daughter was recently frustrated with how she was treated by a company and mentioned that frustration to her friends on Twitter. The company, who monitors their company name on Twitter (hint), saw the tweet and immediately responded to her frustration, made things right, and won back a customer. That is the way referral businesses are built!
- Learn to ask confidently for referrals. If you are providing excellence to your current clients and handling any frustrations that might come along to their satisfaction, then why would you not ask if you could do the same for others they know who could use your product/service as well. If you just wait to see who will refer you, you just might starve (or at least go out of business)!
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, or even a particularly brilliant one, I would like to remind you of the old adage, “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!” Most business owners will agree with these simple points, but most will not take the time to put them to practice. If you do you will stand out from the competition and could be the one to build a 100% referral business!