Are you referable? How do you know?
One barometer of your referability is that you’re getting referrals without asking for them. Are you? Do you have such a good initial process with new prospects and clients that they are thinking of people to refer you to before you even do much work for them? And as you work with your clients, do some of them continue to pass your name along and connect you with people?
This is one measure of your referability. And this counts, by the way. Getting referrals without asking for them is a testimony to your good work.
This article will give you a few ideas on how to become even more referable. By purposefully enhancing your referability, you'll get more referrals without asking for them -- and when you do ask, you’ll have more people receptive to your request.
A Referability Checklist
Alan Weiss, in his book Million Dollar Referrals, provides this list of qualities that contribute to one’s referability. Measure this against your current client relationships.
- Trust. Do you live up to your promises and claims?
- Value. Do you demonstrably improve the client’s condition?
- Responsiveness. Are you accessible, and do you respond rapidly?
- Credibility. Does the client feel it’s impressive to be partnering with you?
- Reciprocity. Do you recommend people to the client where appropriate?
- Professionalism. Are you on time and on deadline?
- Innovation. Are you leading edge? State of the art?
- Reputation. Are you seen by others as being the best of the best?
Weiss notes, “The more you create and maintain breakthrough relationships, the more you will receive unsolicited referrals from your clients.”
Think Process, Not Products
If you’d like to get referrals sooner in your relationships, you need to think process over products. Selling a product will make you some money, but it’s unlikely to make you referable and create a word of mouth movement unless you have a process designed to deliver value every step along the way.
Do you have a clearly defined process through which you put most of your new clients? Is your process educational? Do you ask questions that get your prospects thinking in ways they haven’t thought before? Do you discuss expectations? Do you question their assumptions? Do you remain consistent with your process, or do you wing it? Use these questions to craft your sales process for ultimate referability.
Leverage Your Process
Here are five steps that will ensure you get the most out of your process to make your clients happy and to generate referrals and introductions:
- Have a clearly defined, client-centered process that makes your prospects go “Wow! More than I expected.”
- Name your process. When you name your process, it becomes yours. No one else uses it -- clients can only get this process from you. This is a way to distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace.
- Illustrate your process with graphic design on paper. This brings your process to life. It helps you explain your process to your clients and centers of influence. And most people learn and remember better visually.
- Communicate to prospects, clients, and centers of influence about why and how your process is beneficial. Get in the habit of talking about your process on a regular basis. And always talk about it in terms of the benefits. No one really cares that you have a process; what they really care about is what the process does.
- Bring your process to life with stories, anecdotes, and case studies. Stories engage the emotional side of the brain --which is where buying decisions are made.
To borrow a term from Star Trek, your “prime directive” for every appointment with prospects is to bring value. When you lead with value, two things happen: You make more sales, and you do so in a way that makes you referable sooner.
Never wing it when it comes to client interaction. Have processes in place, and document them with checklists. Then respect the checklists!