Want To Get More Referrals In 2015?
First know how many you want ...
Posted on: 07/01/2015 By: Jacky Sherman
Networking is an investment, so have you worked out how many referrals will give you the results you want for 2015? If you're like most people I talk to the answer will be ''it depends'' ...
Depends on what though? Are you really leaving it to chance or letting others decide for you? So much better to have a clear target for how many referrals you need to reach your income target. We all know that setting a target gives us something to aim for and if you know what you're aiming for you can plan a campaign to achieve it.
In my experience, there are three reasons people give for saying "it depends" with referrals:
They offer such a range of services or products at such a variety of prices that they can't predict what people will refer to them. They get nervous about restricting themselves to a single service, they offer so much and clients come in at all levels.
Maybe it's better to focus on the type of client you want, what is their need for your product or service? For most of us, these are clients who give us repeat business or where we offer a continuous service over a period of time and so get regular income from them.
Why? Because acquiring new clients is always expensive in time and/or money. It's much better to have fewer clients who spend more with you. So lose the muddle and ask your referral sources for introductions to people who have a real need for what you offer.
Which brings us nicely onto the second reason why people say "it depends". For many people, networking means going to breakfast/lunch or supper and making a pitch for referrals to everyone in the room.
That does have value. It is true that you never know who people know. We all have tales about marvelous referrals that come from unexpected sources. However it is a bit random, so what comes back is a bit random too. It depends on chance encounters. A lovely surprise, but not a great way to plan your business.
Try instead to have strategic relationships with people who actually know the sorts of people who have the need for your service. Then you can invest your networking time briefing them thoroughly. Part of that briefing is agreeing what you can do for each other.
If you know you need 24 new clients to achieve your cool half million and you have 8 referral partners then you can ask them if they can refer you to 3 people over the next year. They can either say they can or say they can't. If they can they now have a clear target for how they can help you. Simple isn't it?
Except there is one more "it depends" to consider. Your referral partner is introducing you to someone who needs your service, but you still have to complete the sale. So you have to factor in your conversion rate.
If you need 24 clients and are only converting 1 in 10 into sales, then you need 240 referrals and suddenly you're asking for 30 introductions and that might be a tall order no matter how great your relationship.
Quite rightly you will be nervous that one person can deliver that for you. The bad news is that ad hoc referrals from people who don't really know you or your service can actually make your conversion rate worse. No wonder it depends.
The good news is referrals from trusted referral partners will on average improve your conversion rate threefold. If your referral partners really understand you and your business and are committed to helping you then they will introduce you to people who really need your service and are ready to buy.
What's more, they will give you such a strong testimonial that all you have to do is not mess it up!
Referral Tip: We've made it easy for you to calculate how many referrals you need. Use our Pipeline Calculator to work out how many referrals you need to meet your income target.
Share this link with your referral partners at your next meeting, then you can agree how many referrals you can give each other this year. Will you both deliver? Well, that depends, but now it's up to you!
Want some help working with your referral sources this year? Why not give me a ring on 07970 638857 to discuss how I can help you.
Until next time ...