It can be difficult to perfect a technique to use when you ask for referrals. Those with less social skills than average may find it doubly troublesome to take the initial steps needed to gain confidence in this vital business marketing effort.
It is important to build self-confidence before you ask for referrals. You will need to come off as respectable, reputable and professional. There are a few very basic tips to keep in mind that should help you build upon your confidence as you go.
Make sure you are comfortable and stylish in your appearance. If you lack a sense of style, get a friend to help you redo your wardrobe so that every piece you own makes you feel good to wear. The permanent shift in your wardrobe will also help to build longer term confidence.
Make sure you keep a good posture, maintain eye contact, and nod or give other communication clues to let the speaking party know you are listening. Blindly smiling is not an option. If your prospective customer mentions serious issues, make sure your face reflects the seriousness as well.
Always show appreciation. Do not just launch ‘Thank You’s’ at a person. Change up. “I really appreciate that”, or “How kind of you to say.” Let the consumer know you are in tune with their conversation and that you really do appreciate and consider their care and concerns.
Asking For Referrals
Once you have secured a bit of confidence for yourself you can begin to work your desire for referrals into the flow of the conversation. Some of the ways to ask for referrals can be:
- When at all possible, it is best to ask for referrals in face-to-face conversation. Not only is this more respectful, but it eliminates the chance for awkwardly feeling like the communication is under duress. Although some of us may feel uncomfortable asking for things, it doesn’t mean that people are put off by the request. Seeing someone face-to-face can eliminate the anxiety of wondering.
- Do not ask for referrals when presenting a bill when at all possible. This is, in general, in bad taste as well as a bad time to ask for anything from your customers.
- Keep a script in mind for replies to general communications between you and your customers. When a customer lets you know they are happy with your product or service, take that time to share your scripted reply. “I am pleased you are delighted with our product, do you know of anyone else who may enjoy it as you have?” Of course the less scripted sounding the reply sounds is best. Once you have gotten used to the ‘buzz’ words that trigger your own replies, you will gain notable confidence to allow it to sound less like a script and more like genuine business relationship communications.
Once your self-confidence begins to combine with repetitive task that you will engage in when you ask for referrals, it will seem like second nature instead of forced conversation.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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