Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon once said “If you do build a great experience, customers teach each other about that.” Although his quote was meant to teach businesses how to thrive without asking for referrals, there is absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t work be a golden rule for individuals too.
Tip: Encourage business referrals in a way which feels both natural and non-spammy. Although a plethora of books recommend that you ask for business referrals more often and always ask different people, according to Steve Gordon’s book Unstoppable Referrals, NOT asking for referrals is the best way of getting them.
The author explains that asking for referrals makes you uncomfortable and if you don’t receive them you immediately feel rejected. Here is why some people simply refuse to give you the business referral you asked for months ago.
- Because they are preoccupied with their own lives and giving you the referral you asked for is not a top priority on their to-do list.
- They don’t want to endanger their relationship with you, especially if you have become good friends.
LinkedIn has come to professionals’ rescue thanks to LinkedIn Recommendation and LinkedIn Referrals. These features help both individuals and businesses to receive the thumbs-up they need to attract potential employers or clients in a non-embarrassing way.
Coming back to the plethora of books which recommend that you ask for business referrals, here are a few tips to transform this into a pleasant activity:
- Reminders are a great way to make sure you receive those referrals you need.
- Make it easy for them. When you ask for a business referral, you should offer that person the tools to give you a stellar review of your services. The easiest way to make sure you receive a business referral is to add links to your website pages and social media accounts and to help them figure out how to describe their experience. Warning: Never write the referral for them!
- Say “thank you”! People are not obligated to give you business referrals so what you should do is convince them to give you a chance. Most referrers are motivated to help you because you have helped them, but a simple “thank you” can work wonders.
- Promising to give them a referral too. This trade is not the best way to handle things, but if you really need that business referral and you have truly enjoyed working with your employer or client, you should definitely return the favour even before you receive the business referral you need.
Not all people have a “referral mindset” and once they are satisfied with your work, they tend to forget that their referral is the key to a richer contact list.
Your job is to explain how you would like to receive those referrals and what aspects they should touch and to do something unexpected after you’ve received the referral. Stay away from anything that might look like bribery, but don’t pretend that people don’t like to be applauded for favours they don’t really have to do.