It is a commonly understood truth in business that the best prospective client or customer is a person who has been referred to you by someone who is a trusted advisor and resource.

Prospects who are referred to you by someone they trust come with two singular benefits to you:

  1. They are already interested in your product or service, or they wouldn’t have asked for a referral.
  2. They are predisposed to like and trust you, based on their respect for the person who gave them your name as a reference.

That being the case, how can you improve your chances of being the referral of choice in your field?

Here are six suggestions for you to consider:

  1. Your appearance needs to be appropriate to your business or profession. If anything, be slightly more formal in your dress than your prospective clients, as that helps to create a more authoritative aura.
  2. Strive to become the acknowledged expert in your field, the go-to person that everyone wants to consult.
  3. Be incredibly respectful of other people’s time. Arriving late for an appointment creates a negative impression that is difficult to overcome. Follow my late husband’s advice and always allow yourself what he called a cushion of time to get to any appointment. When you leave late, every traffic light is red!
  4. Put building a relationship ahead of making a sale. People who are referred to you may be predisposed to like and trust you, so don’t ruin your chances! Let them get to know you as well; so that you have the benefit of all three factors of know, like, and trust.
  5. The first time you forget to thank someone may be the last time you see that person. That’s a motto from my life as a professional volunteer. Be sure to thank the person who referred someone to you. A hand-written note, an invitation to a lovely meal, or a gift commensurate with the value of the referral, are all smart things to do, if you ever want that person to refer someone to you again. Sincerely expressed appreciation should be offered as well. And don’t simply send an email or wait to run into the person to say thanks. Pick up the phone and call! An email simply cannot replace the warmth of a personal conversation.
  6. Return the favor, or do the favor first! Be on the lookout for referrals you can make to other people, and they will be much more likely to refer people to you in return.

Coming up in my next post: How to graciously ask for a referral without putting anybody on the spot.