How many times, have you heard others proudly proclaim:
“Oh, you have to call my doctor, he’s a big man ... ”
“My attorney is incredible, she’s the best, here’s her number ... ”
“She’s tops in her field, contact her immediately ... ”
“If you need that taken care of, there’s only one person to call, he’s been helping me for years ... ”
From these examples, it’s obvious that referral sources or providers, have a great sense of pride and fulfillment, when they can “turn-on” their friends, family and peers ... to their valued expert(s).
And now, when you ask for referrals, you too can help others look like heroes!
Yet, despite all the benefits of a proactive and profit-producing referrals network ... with some business people, companies or sales cultures, the effective use of referrals is still minimal or even obsolete. Ouch!
A client asked me recently, “Jeff, since you do extensive work with clients in lead generation and referrals, I was wondering, how come most business people don’t use this effective business builder more often?”
It’s a great question. And you might conclude, referrals aren’t a more proactive lead generator because a business pro or salesperson believes: They’re not part of their company’s culture; one thinks they might offend a satisfied customer with their request; they’ve already got plenty of leads; they consider a referred lead to be a “cold call;” they fear rejection, (meaning the request for a referral will be dismissed by their customer or referral source); they fear rejection, (meaning their contact with the prospect or referred-lead will be met with disinterest or disdain).
While the preceding might be rationalized justifications for inaction, they’re still not the number one reason for referral reluctance.
Believe it or not, countless clients have told me, the number one reason they don’t ask for referrals, is because they forget. Amazing, but true!
So to help clients and now you, never forget, I developed a simple acronym: R. E. M. E. M. B. E. R.
And I urge my clients and you to remember to R. E. M. E. M. B. E. R.
Incredibly simple. Incredibly powerful.
To reinforce the power of this acronym and its application, my clients: Who earn six and seven figures, scrawl this word across the top of a legal pad page, as they prepare to meet a client or prospect, (this enables them to see the word “remember” during the actual client/prospect interview, so they’ll be sure to ask for referrals); have it scroll across their computer as a screen saver; place stickers to the tops of their desktop monitors; make buttons; string giant banners in their offices urging their team to: Remember to R.E.M.E.M.B.E.R.
Now, once you remember ...
Here are 230 million more reasons, to ask for referrals.
Early in 1998, I suggested to the senior leadership team of Banc One Financial Services, (at that time, a division of Bank One), the development of a referrals program or system.
It would strategically teach the bank’s loan officers to ask for referrals and then convert these new leads into booked loans.
The leaders agreed, yet wondered, “Jeff, will it work?” I simply said, “Its success is up to your people. When they execute, the results will be quick and dramatic.”
And, the results were quick and dramatic! Here’s a brief recap.
In late March, 1998, we introduced the “Referrals: Your Road to Results” strategies at three branch-centers. While the initial response was excellent, I knew these positive expectations had to be translated into bottom-line results.
Within two weeks, $335,000 in new business was generated from referrals. And within two months, referrals had generated new booked loan volume of $896,331!
Based upon these early successes, the bank’s senior leadership team enthusiastically declared, “Jeff, let’s roll it out! Now!”
To support the “rollout” we created a series of workshops and customized business-growth reinforcement tools, i.e., workbooks, audios, videos, etc.
The bank’s loan officers learned how to: Ask for referrals; develop a referrals network; leverage a prospect they were unable to help; obtain valuable information about a referred lead; contact and communicate with a referred lead and more.
Referrals became an integral part of the bank’s daily culture. And volume.
The referrals program, in 23 months, produced new volume of $230 million. All from referrals. And the size of a typical referral loan was almost 30 percent larger than a non-referral loan. (In March, 2000, Banc One sold this portfolio to Household International.)
If you’d like to read more about this tale of triumph, please go to jeffblackman.com and click on “Success Stories.”
Now, you too, can reap the benefits, results and rewards of referrals.
Next time, we’ll talk about your referral psyche.
Jeff Blackman is a speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer who lives part-time on Marco Island. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to jeffblackman.com to subscribe to his free e-letter.