One of the best sources for new customers is referrals from existing customers, but if you have fallen out of the habit of asking it can feel awkward to start again.  This week we discuss some of the techniques to get you back on track.

This topic was originally introduced way back in Issue 203 where we feature some additional advice from Ryan Silverstein.

  1. Ask early, ask often.
    You don't need to wait until a project is over or a customer is 'settled' to ask for a referral, and you don't need to make a referral request a one time thing.  Add a reminder to yourself on any documents you might use (like price lists or call sheets) to ask you customers for other companies that might benefit from working with you.

  2. Add referral requests to your 'standard' documents.
    Add a mention to your invoices, order acknowledgments, even as part of your email signature reminding your customers to spread the word.  For electronic documents be sure to include a simple reply or submission form so a customer can give you a tip with minimal effort.

  3. Make sure your customers have your contact information on their phones.
    Today's Rolodex is the cellphone, be sure that your customers have your contact information on their cellphones.  This way when they want to give out your name or number, they have it.

  4. Be specific when asking for referrals.
    When asking for a referral share information about what type of prospect you might be looking for, or what product line you are focused on.  Details take this from a 'rote pleasantry' to an actual conversation.  It also keeps the conversation 'fresh' as you're going to be asking again.

  5. Say "Thank you."
    Respond to referrals promptly and positively. If you utilize a referral bonus or incentive be sure to fulfill your promises.  Even if you don't provide a monetary reward be sure to thank your customers for their time.  



Issue 640 - Everything Cycles.

Transformation and disruption was a topic in an article in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer. I read about the demise of Sears & Roebuck titled The Big Stumble. They believed they had no competitors. The New York Times dubbed them "The Amazon of the gilded age." Those of us in the baby boom generation remember Sears.  As a young boy I remember thumbing through the catalog, dreaming of what I could buy if I had the money.

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