Referrals are the highest compliment to your business — but it takes work to get them. There’s a fine line between staying top of mind with referral sources and being pushy. Here’s how these relationship masters and advisors in The Oracles find this balance and win referrals.
1. Create content and meet right away
We do our best to provide education in the form of newsletters, podcasts and more so that prospective clients can learn about our way of thinking. This allows them to get comfortable with our offering and choose how they want to become educated. We also meet with the prospective client as soon as possible. As time goes by, life happens and people may move on to other things.
— Peter Mallouk, president and chief investment officer of Creative Planning, which manages over $36 billion in assets; rated No. 1 on Barron’s “Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors in America” for three consecutive years; follow Peter on Twitter
2. Set expectations and show appreciation
First, make referrals a condition of doing business with you. For example, when someone signs up at your gym, say, “As we help you achieve your fitness goals, can you help us achieve our goal to impact 2,000 people?” When they say yes, tell them the best compliment they can give is to refer others when they get results. By setting the condition right away, you’ve created the expectation that it’s not just money in exchange for a product or service: It’s money and a referral.
Second, constantly showing appreciation through text, email or social media. For example: “Thanks for always bringing positive energy. I’d like to give two of your friends a free week membership on your behalf.” Recognize them and remind them about the condition of doing business together.
— Bedros Keuilian, founder of Fit Body Boot Campauthor ofMan Up” and host of ”Empire Podcast Show;” read how Bedros built his dream life; connect with Bedros on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
Related: Learn Why This Company Trains its Employees to Quit
3. Share your expertise with everyone
When I sold accident insurance, I asked every yes, no, and maybe if they knew anyone who might be interested. Then I helped them come up with names. I’d ask if they knew someone who owned four-wheelers or was in a business like construction.
To establish credibility when you’re getting started, work hard and identify what makes you different. Share your expertise and help others grow, even if they’re competitors or are happy where they are. When they’re looking for a service you offer, they’ll remember that you helped them.
When you get a referral, act immediately. If you don’t follow through, that person may never give you another. Go the extra mile to show your appreciation. Don’t let someone question whether they made a mistake. Make them look smart.
— Craig Handley, co-founder of ListenTrust and author of “Hired to Quit, Inspired to Stay;” read more about Handley: Why These Founders Train Their Employees to Quit
4. Educate, showcase and automate
When someone offers to refer you, educate them on your value proposition. Most referral partners don’t know what makes you different. Ask when you can visit their office for 15 minutes to share the presentation you give clients. This shows them who you are and what you do. Build social proof by showcasing how you’ve helped others.
Then make it easy for them to refer you. Offer to write a simple email or record a video they can forward to prospects. It’s our job to educate referral partners on our value proposition, showcase our success, and automate the process by making it easy and joyful to refer us.
— Sharran Srivatsaaangel investor and CEO of Kingston Lane, a push-button technology execution platform for real estate; Teles Properties 10X grew to $3.4 billion in five years; follow Sharran on Instagram
5. Make them feel special
When someone offers to bring you referrals, you need to bring that to fruition. First, show appreciation with a handwritten note, which will set you apart. It will also build a foundation so you can go back and ask for more referrals later. Make them feel special. Then follow up immediately and regularly.
Everyone likes a free meal — but nothing in business is completely free. Take them to a nice lunch or dinner as soon as possible. Do two things during the meal: Thank them profusely for their business and for trusting you with their clients, friends and family. Then don’t leave without the referrals. Take care of these contacts. Put in the time and create value for them.
— Mark Bloompresident at NetWorth Realtyranked by Glassdoor among the “Best Places to Work“for two consecutive years
6. Have a giving attitude
First, thank the source of the referral in advance. Ask them who their ideal client is and how you can help them. You will get more in return if you go into these relationships with an attitude of giving and bringing value rather than an attitude of taking. Then stay top of mind by reminding them of your successes. Send them a weekly or monthly update with a story of how you helped someone get results.
Show appreciation when you get the referral, and again when you do business with them. Personalized gifts and thank-you notes go a long way.
— Daniel Lesniak, founder of Orange Line Livingbroker at the Keri Shull Team and co-founder of real estate coaching business HyperFast Agent; author of ”The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent”
7. Stay in touch after the sale
Businesses are relational, especially real estate. Authentic relationships turn into referrals. I get to know all our agents and employees. Talking with local business owners and residents helps me understand prospective customers’ needs and wants. This type of connection also keeps me top of mind.
No matter your industry, the sale is not the end of the transaction. Nothing is more powerful than personally connecting with clients. They won’t forget how you made them feel. Show you care by following up with past and present clients. What happens after the sale makes the relationship. That’s what leads to referrals — and ultimately more sales. Remember: Building a successful business is more than a transaction.
— Dottie HermanCEO of Douglas Elliman, a real estate brokerage empire with more than $27 billion in annual sales; connect with Dottie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
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8. Let your results speak for themselves
Stay true to yourself and always remember: If you are good enough, the market will come to you. We use social media to display our brand, showcase our results and stay in the minds of potential investors. The results have been great thus far.
I have raised $71 million in equity since 2011, primarily by delivering results. I’ve been approached many times with offers to introduce me to others for a finder’s fee, but I’ve never accepted them. If you have a track record, money finds you.
— Robert Martinez, founder and CEO of Rockstar Capital, a real estate investment firm with $285 million in assets under management and $71 million in investor capital; host of “The Apartment Rockstarpodcast; follow Robert on YouTube and Instagram
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Originally published May 31, 2019.