Killer Referral Mistake

Jul 18, 2008

  1. maxreferrals

    maxreferrals Expert

    Likes Received:
    Perception vs. Reality Is Killing Your Referrals

    You've worked with a client for some time. You perceive they are happy with your work.

    • And naturally, you're expecting them to refer business to you and send you new client referrals.
    Yet the reality is that this person may have certain reservations that he or she has never directly voiced to you (or perhaps subtly hinted about.)

    This undertone of Perception vs. Reality is sabotaging your chance to get more referrals and referred business from them.

    • Positioning, or perception of you, is how the client imagines you versus other choices - namely, your competitors.
    The fact that their may be a limited supply of your competitors readily available to your client, means the client has limited choices.

    This can be good for you as short-term retention tool, but it can also sabotage your long-term consistent referral efforts.

    For example, let's take a niche such as physicians.

    Doctors are a busy group. They run hectic practices and hire administrators to oversee their operations. Let's say you are a agent that helps a doctor reduce malpractice exposure

    Your expertise is malpractice coverage.

    A doctor may know other professionals, true. But they probably don't know very many who are honed at malpractice.

    This reduces their supply of agent "relationships." While this is an advantage to you as the agent (limited supply of competitors) it can seriously hurt your relationship. Why?

    Human nature being what it is, means worry, concerns and angst will eventually creep in, silently reminding the physician, "You could be getting more coverate, for less premium, and there must be someone else you can work with who knows alternatives."

    The problem is relational-disconnect begins to form. This hurts opportunities for word-of-mouth introductions.

    For whatever reason during the time you have worked together, the doctor's perception has now become that you are not as talented as he or she once believed.

    They may start to imagine and perceive even more: That you are preoccupied.

    That you've become too busy.

    That you really aren't as responsive as you once were. And those perceptions - false as they may be to you - continue to grow and grow into accepted reality of the doctor.

    The truth is that, we as people, in our distracted, hectic lives, won't always stop to "fact-check" ourselves and our misguided perceptions - to see if they are indeed real.

    Much like the Doctor, in this example.

    To improve you referrals, word-of-mouth marketing and referred business, make sure people you are working with have opportunities to check their perceptions of you versus the reality of the situation.

    One of the easiest ways of encouraging this is via honest open communication that encourages complaints and objections.

    Try saying, "Mr. Client, I've enjoyed our relationship. I'd like you to refer others to me. But before we discuss that, I'd like you to be perfectly candid with me: What have I been doing that has bothered you?"
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Interesting post.

    I would think an even bigger mistake in referrals is not asking for them. Oddly, similar to not asking for the sale to begin with.

    Also, not knowing when to ask or how to ask plays a role.

    I guess it's several factors.
    Guest, Jul 18, 2008