Never Ask for Referrals

Referrals are a hot topic. And they should be. Many businesses rely more on referrals than any other source of new business.

But many people get it wrong when they think about referrals. They see referrals as something they can “get” or produce. They try to build systems and plans to generate referrals.

The reality though is different. Referrals are an outcome of doing things well. When you take care of your customers and you do it better than anyone else, referrals should come your way.

A referral is an outcome. And remember, we do not control outcomes. We influence them with inputs. So, if you want to get more referrals, you need to do the right things (inputs) that are more likely to create referrals.

Referrals happen naturally when several conditions are met:

1. A person feels good about doing business with someone or with a company.
2. They have a friend who wants what the person or company sells.
3. They believe their friend will have a similar experience as they did with this person or company

When a person makes a referral they are doing so to help the person they are referring. They care about that person. They know enough about them to believe they want what your company does. And they believe, based on experience, that your company will help their friend as they helped you.

The referrer benefits because they have the opportunity to help a friend. Your job (as the product or service provider) is easy. All you need to do is help their friends like you helped them. In others words, do what you do best.

Note, in the three necessary conditions for a referral, you do not control any of them. But you do INFLUENCE the first and the third. Your actions will determine (to a large degree) whether conditions #1 and #3 exist. If you discover what your customers want and give it to them better than anyone else then the odds are very good you will help create conditions #1 and #3.

If you focus on what you want and you give little attention to helping them get what they want, then conditions #1 and #3 will probably never occur. And neither will referrals.

You want referrals? It’s easy. Take care of your customers better than anyone else. Work with them to understand what they are trying to accomplish. Help them get what they want plus a little more. Help them be pleasantly surprised when they do business with you. Deliver a great experience for them and they will naturally think of you when their friends want what you do.

Do the things that help produce the three conditions above. Keep doing them day after day, week after week. Get better and better. The more you do the right things, and the better you get at them, the more you’ll see the outcomes you want. In this case, you’ll see more referrals than you could ever get by asking.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz