In our Clients By Referral® training experience, participants often remark that they wish they were as relaxed as our facilitators are when discussing referrals with clients. Great news – there’s no need to wish! We can make this a reality for you with just three easy tricks!
Step One – Don’t use referrals to find out if your client is satisfied
Some participants worry that when they discuss referrals with a client, they will discover that the client isn’t happy. These participants fear being rejected by the client, and a fear of rejection is a very strong fear.
So here’s the trick: Don’t use your discussion of referrals to find out if your client is satisfied.
The discussion with a client to determine if they are satisfied and the discussion with a client about referrals are TWO SEPARATE discussions. Confirming that your clients are satisfied with your service is critical to the on-going success of your business and you should be determining this with all clients.
If you then discover a satisfied client, then you can initiate a discussion about referrals with them. But this means that by the time I start the discussion about referrals, I have ALREADY determined the client is satisfied and I therefore have no fear of being rejected during the referral discussion. That’s why we are relaxed during the discussion on referrals.
Step Two – Have no expectations of referrals
Some participants worry that they are pressuring clients into giving referrals during a referral discussion. The worry clients are going to feel on-the-spot.
So here’s the trick: Have no expectations of receiving any referrals.
The chances of a client providing you with a referral at the very second you ask them for one are pretty slim. You have to get a bit lucky for that to happen. Most likely, they won’t actually know anyone to refer to you at that particularly moment.
So stop expecting them to provide referrals! Relax and just enjoy the conversation. Stop measuring success by how many immediate referrals you receive and start measuring success by how many referrals you receive over the life of a client. Since I am no longer expecting any immediate referrals, I can take all the pressure out of the discussion (in fact, I could even tell my clients that I don’t expect any referrals). As a result, I am very relaxed during the discussion.
Step Three – Practice until you find your way of holding the discussion
Some participants worry they are going to sound scripted when talking with a client. They worry it’s going to look salesy and unnatural.
So here’s the trick: Practice, practice, practice until you find your way of holding the discussion.
At the start, you are trying to find the right words, the right way, the right approach to discuss referrals with your clients. You might start by copying a facilitator, another participant or guessing at your words. So yes, the first 5-10 times you discuss referrals with a client, you may not feel quite right.
Then suddenly, in one referral discussion, you use a new set of words which sound just like you. They roll of the tongue with a smile on your face and the discussion seems perfectly natural. Our facilitators have done just that – had 100’s of referral discussions until they discovered their own words. Each facilitator holds the discussion slightly differently, with different choices in phrase and approach, to suit their personality. That’s why they are so relaxed in the discussion.
Now we try and accelerate that process in our training experiences, but sometimes it takes 3-4 discussions with actual clients to solidify the outcomes. If you think about most things you discuss with a client it’s the same process – the first few times are a bit rough and then you find your little patter – after which you discuss that topic the same way with every client.
Tricks, but not magic
If you can separate your referral discussions from your satisfaction discussions, have no expectations of actually receiving any immediate referrals and discover and use your own words in the discussion, then you will be as relaxed and confident as any of our facilitators when discussing referrals.
At that point, you will find yourself discussing referrals with >70% of your clients…and that’s when the number of referrals you start to receive really adds up.