If we want to grow our business through referrals. We know we need to ask for the referrals. But when is the right time to ask?
Old School is, the first meeting or even prior to a meeting. It was not unusual for a Sales person to bring up the subject of referrals and tell people to think of a few people between now and the next meeting.
It is an aggressive approach that produced results to those who are persistent. Someone may begrudgingly give a referral but it wouldn't be thoughtful and sincere.
It is best to ask when your client has perceived or recognized value. When you hear a client say, “I have enjoyed this meeting” or “You have been a great help.” That is your cue to ask for a referral.
If they say, “I can't wait to get started.” or “I've put this off long enough”. This is a signal that means they are receptive to the referral process.
What if you don't get strong signals from your clients? Gauging how your meeting is going is necessary skill you should be doing every meeting at various intervals. So, starting about halfway through your meeting. You should ask “value seeking” questions. They need to be specific and not open ended. Like, “What would you consider to be the most important?”
Sometime they may respond with an, “I'm not sure.” Don't be discouraged. You need to know this so you can address the issues, instead of starting the Referral process when the perceived value is not there.
If you have filled a need and the value is there, why wouldn't they want to refer you to their clients and friends.
You can approach like this, “I'm glad we agreed on a solution. Perhaps you know someone with similar issues. We can offer them the same solution.” Notice, the process itself its a team effort.
The best referrals come from the perspective of 'We'. Helping someone together. Engaging the referral process once you have established a perceived value.