We can all agree, the best way to generate new business usually comes from asking people you know (your advocates) for referrals. Yet, most agents overlook this highly productive strategy. Instead, they focus on spending time and money creating opportunities with people who don’t know them. The problem with this is that it takes time to build a relationship of trust and confidence. But when you’re referred by someone a prospect knows, there is already a degree of trust and confidence. Think about what happens when you ask someone you trust to recommend a professional. The feeling is: “If Tom says you‘re good, you must be good”. The trust and confidence is assumed.
Agents tend to overlook asking for referrals from their past clients, advocates and sphere of influence because they:
- Don’t realize how easy it is. It can be as simple as saying: “Please don’t keep me a secret”.
- Don’t use spaced-repetition, or a 24 touch annual campaign to remind people they know to remember to refer business. (Out of sight, out of mind).
Once you’ve received a referral from someone, it’s imperative you show your appreciation by doing two things:
- Be sure to thank your advocate for the referral before you meet the prospect.
- Be sure to compliment your new prospect when you contact them.
For the purposes of this discussion, you can use flattery in your discussion with the prospect to encourage your advocate to refer more business to you. For example:
“Mr. Prospect, it’s a pleasure having the opportunity to meet with you. Mr. Advocate says you’re one of the sharpest people he knows. I’m not sure what your relationship is with Mr. Advocate, but I have to tell you, he is a real fan of yours.”
In most cases, you’re flattering statements are likely to get back to the referring party. When it does, they will be encouraged to refer more business to you. Additionally, flattering the advocate during the conversation with the prospect will help ensure you get off to a good start with them.
If you remember every day to make your referral strategy your top priority, you can replace weaker prospecting strategies and your business will grow by leaps and bounds!