Have you ever heard people say that they “earn” referrals simply by offering great service? The notion that by taking care of a client they are essentially collecting gold stars that they can later trade in for a referral? Well that’s a myth. If you believe that by meeting your customer’s expectations you should be rewarded with a positive recommendation you could be hurting your chances for increased business. Here’s why.
The idea behind earning referrals is that if you treat your customer well enough they should reward you with a referral. Some even go as far as suggesting that you should ask customers early in the sales process if they will provide referrals in exchange for great service.
This really isn’t the right way to get referrals. Sure, you have to take care of your customers. But they must not feel as if you are taking care of them only to get a referral. You can’t expect referrals in return for anything, and they should not be used as currency to exchange for good customer service. In doing so you’re making the referral about you, not about helping the person they are referring. You’re saying: “In exchange for good customer service you’ll owe me one referral.”
People don’t refer to help you, they refer to help their friends and family. So they need to know that you will take care of the people they refer. That means you have to put your customers first, even before your desire to earn new business.
Instead of thinking about earning referrals, think about how you can prove yourself as worthy to be referred by your customers. Prove to them that you are selfless and will do everything you can to help them and their friends and family. When you do that your customers will refer you to their friends and family because they know you want to help them – not just improve your bottom line.