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Good Branding enSUREs Referrals

Referring Colleagues, Friends and Family

Referring Colleagues, Friends and Family

Are referrals your primary source of new clients? That’s not a surprise. Some 90% of the entrepreneurs we’ve worked with over the last 10 years answer “yes” to that question. What is somewhat surprising is the number of entrepreneurs who don’t perceive the link between branding and referrals.

People REFER for two reasons:

1. They want to look good to the people they are referring. They want to feel confident you will impress the person they are sending your way.
2. They want to look good to you. They want you to know they appreciate your service and that in return, you appreciate the referral.

Where Branding comes in:

Have you ever wondered what your clients say about you when referring you to their colleagues, friends and family? Most entrepreneurs agree that their clients would likely have many different stories to tell. Imagine you’re a financial advisor and one of your clients telling a potential ideal client that you are experienced, easy to work with and that you provide comprehensive financial planning. You may be all those things, which are great, but they in no way differentiate you from most other financial advisors.

The question is: have you taken the steps to truly differentiate you and your business so that you maximize referrals, the life-line of your business?

Are you leveraging your brand to gain
way more ideal client referrals?

If you’re not nurturing your brand in a way that engrains your message in your clients’ minds, you will have no say or control over your best sales force; happy clients telling the right story to the right people, all for you. It’s critical to making an impact in the prospects’ minds and it also helps solidify your relationship with your client. They too want to feel like they are getting something from you they can’t find around the corner.

Just think for a few minutes how powerful it would be to script you message for your clients. Imagine how comfortable they would be in sharing your story with the right people, your ideal target audience.

Do your clients…

  • Know who you work best with?
  • Use keywords that create intrigue and buzz about your service or approach?
  • Truly understand how they benefit from working with you?
  • Know how to refer people to you?
  • Know how you are compensated?
  • Know your professional credentials and experience?

You wouldn’t send a sales force out into the streets without having a full and complete understanding of the above. Why would you send your clients out to refer you without the same level of understanding?

There are four key branding criteria to BEING REFERABLE:

  • Special

    How are you different or the same as everyone else? You need to be memorable first and foremost.

    A compelling message is the ONLY story that gets told. If you aren’t nurturing that message and ensuring clients know exactly what to say and to whom, you’re leaving lots of quality opportunities on the table. If you rely heavily on new clients from referrals, it’s integral that you invest time, energy and money into nailing this aspect of your business.

  • Useful

    Does your point of differentiation benefit them and how?

    A flashy message that has no clear and relevant benefit will not endure further investigation. Make sure the usefulness of your offering is simple and relevant.

  • Reliable

    Are they quickly assured of your professionalism and expertise?

    No one wants to work with an entrepreneur that is anything less than an expert who is successful and professional. Your brand and marketing needs to succinctly and quickly convey this. Good marketing should quickly answer a prospect’s baseline questions or concerns. Are you a successful professional and an expert in your area of expertise?

    Good branding and marketing is not as simple as having a cookie cutter web site. Your web site for instance needs to say you invest in your business, you’re the expert they need and you are a true professional they can trust.

  • Economical

    Does working with you make economical sense? Are you an affordable and profitable decision?

    Lastly, you need to be an economical choice. This doesn’t mean cheap; more like appropriate for the type of people who you’ll be referred to. Do your message, marketing and perceived value reflect your fees?

Most entrepreneurs look at asking for referrals as an art, something they need to feel inspired and passionate about. They need to take their time to paint the perfect picture of what asking for and getting referrals is all about. Getting consistent great referrals is simple:

  • brandish a compelling message
  • establish a repeatable process that is easy to understand for you, your team and the client
  • implant the idea of referrals in your clients minds
  • follow through with asking and getting referrals

Be S.U.R.E. and you’ll get more referrals.

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