I hope you found last week’s conversation about building your practice with Pinkcasts to be useful. 90 seconds of weekly content can go a long way towards building your authority and expertise. Any of you going to give it a try?
On to this week. When it comes to building a pipeline of work, referrals can be the lifeblood of a BVFLS practice. So why do I feel so awkward asking my clients for them?!
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
One thing I found last week: 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Trust Your Website. We are generally wary information on the Internet unless it comes from a trusted source. Which is why it is essential that your firm’s website convince visitors you are trustworthy and capable and why your firm is the one they should choose.
My take: According to The Visible Expert, almost 81% of buyers of professional services evaluate experts like us using our websites as an important data/ reference point. Out of the 10 reasons listed in the above article, I’m imagining you will find five to eight areas where you could improve that buyer experience.
So what’s my problem with asking clients for referrals?
There are two, I think.
The first problem is my personality. I know some people who will ask anyone for anything anytime anywhere. With the sincerest of feelings and without a trace of hesitation. Then there’s me, who just doesn’t want to risk offending anyone – ever.
I admit I could use some backbone here.
The second problem is my timing … as in I wait too long to make the ask. IT IS awkward if I’ve waited months after a project was completed to go back to a client and ask for a referral because now my ask is no longer connected to the excellent service/solution I provided.
So I tell myself I’ll ask for a referral “the next time.” Riiiiiight.
Changes in latitude, changes in attitude
The clients who know me, know my firm, and know the work I do also know other people who could benefit from the value I create. I am creating value, after all, right?
So perhaps the solution to Problem #1 is a mental shift. From: I’m too shy/embarrassed/scared to ask for a referral. To: It’s an incredible disservice not to ask for introductions to people who will greatly benefit from my good work.
Speak now or forever hold my peace
I am a creature of habit. Especially habits built into checklists. And I love checklists.
So perhaps the solution to Problem #2 is making the ask for a referral part of my new engagement checklist. Specifically, when the client accepts my proposal I ask for a referral.
A script, please
I’m not all that spontaneous. But if I have a script in mind, I can sound unrehearsed. So how about this:
I’m confident that everything we’re working on together is going to turn out as expected. If you have a great experience, can I ask you to recommend me to other people who might appreciate the same results?
I’ve asked in advance for the commitment that I will later seek, provided I deliver the goods. And I’ve hinged the right to ask for that referral on me executing for my client. (If I don’t execute, I don’t ask.)
Then, as soon as my client becomes thrilled with my work I can ask for a referral. How about this: “Since you’re happy with the work I’m doing, can you make an introduction to someone you know who might need my help? If you could you make a call or send an email introducing me, I would really appreciate it.”
The only things left for me to do are a) everything necessary to deserve those referrals, and b) confidently ask for the referrals I earned. Awkwardness problems solved!
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