Before you step out and start asking for referrals it's important to stop and know exactly what kind of referrals you are looking for. Our friends at Mindshop have some helpful steps about how to make this happen.
Step 1 - Create a profile of your best client
This step is about understanding WHO your best clients are. Think about your client base and who you have the most successful relationship with, the most fun with, who is easiest to deal with. Understanding who your 'best' client is enables you to go on to define how you identify clients in the 'best client category'.
Some useful things to think about here as you define this group are:
• Who have you done most business with?
• Who have been the most profitable?
• Who have been the easiest to deal with?
• Who have previously been a good source of referrals for you?
• Describe the niche they are in – if they are in a niche?
Now for the killer question – What are the major benefits you bring to them? This helps you understand your offering and why working with you is attractive to businesses who match your 'best client category'.
Step 2 - Are you referrable?
This step is about looking at your business and yourself to establish how well positioned you are for people to want to refer you.
The Mindshop Referral diagnostic model can be helpful in identifying where you are and where your gaps may be. Take time to self-assess, and if gaps exist, create a One Page Plan to close those gaps. Until you are considered 'referrable' you will not maximise the opportunities available to you through a referral system – "don't put more business through an incapable system" – if you are not ready for referrals, don't ask for them – just YET!