Over the years, I’ve asked colleagues and friends to refer me to consultants, freelancers and others I may need to hire for different projects. Sometimes the referrals work out, and other times they don’t. When I find someone who does a good job for me, I do my best to promote their business to others.
It make sense that if you’re good at what you do, referrals should come easy to you, right? That isn’t always the case. Some people may automatically refer you to their friends and colleagues, but others may need additional incentives, including the ones below.
Prepare to pay.
When you meet someone who could refer business to you, offer to pay him or her a percentage of any sales you make from a referral. Get to know the person first before you make the referral offer. Otherwise, your offer may border on creepy.
Pay right away.
When you finish a project that came from a referral, pay the person who made the referral immediately. That will encourage the person who referred you to one project, to refer you to others. When a prospect contacts you, don’t forget to ask how he or she heard about your company.
A task for a task.
Instead of paying someone for a referral, offer to barter services instead. Let’s say you’re a Web designer and you need furniture or supplies. You could offer to create a site for a furniture retailer or office supply company. Keep in mind that bartered products are taxable. Check with your CPA to make sure you pay the right amount of taxes.
Cross-promotions are another incentive for referrals. If you’re sending a mass e-mail to your clients about your products or services, include information about someone else’s company. Ask the person whose information you included in your mass e-mail to include your information in one of their mass mailings. By working together, you can reach more prospects.
What referral system has worked well for you?