Word of mouth rules! When you have past clients talking about how great you are and actually referring to you then business just got a whole lot easier. Basically you get good at what you do then over time get known for being great at it. This is terrific when you have time to become known, it is not so great when you are new to a business or simply trying to grow faster than the natural organic growth that doing great work requires.
There are three essential qualities required to be referable. These qualities instruct the actions you need to take to make referrals as integral part of your business.
Quality One: Be Reliable
People don’t refer the smartest or most talented person they know, they refer the smartest and most talented person they know who they can rely on to do what they say.
Referrals become a circle with three reference points, wherein energy moves from the referee to the referred and to the referrer and back again. The dance between each is essentially based on trust. If you refer someone to me you are trusting me with your reputation, the person you referred is of course trusting you that I will do what you promised them I could. So to complete the triangle I need to be reliable.
Quality Two: Be Grateful
When someone gives you a referral you need to say thank you. Most of the time it’s not about the money. It is about showing appreciation for the trust. It’s about treating the referral as a gift – at the very least say thank you. And this is a great time to go old school and unplugged. Go out today and buy 100 cards. Every time you get a referral from someone at the very least send them a handwritten card of appreciation.
Quality Three: Be generous
A person who is referred has high expectations. It is hard to meet these expectations with average. Be as generous with your time and knowledge as you possibly can, because a person who is delighted beyond expectation can become a raving fan. But you have to overdo it, be more, do more and make every “stuff up” a moment of truth. Referrals are great as they are a form of low cost of advertising. They are not free though. Exceeding expectations is something you need to obsess about. It is what Steve Jobs called being “insanely great.”