Online Leads – Generate More Business

There’s something more important than search engine optimization. More important than incoming links. Too many of us get wrapped up in how we rank at the search engines or how much traffic is coming to our site. These numbers are important, but not as important as converting that traffic into business. Imagine you have a pail with a big hole in the bottom of it. Will pouring more water in fill your bucket? Of course not. You need to fix that hole. We are talking about Referrals.

The best time to ask for a referral is when your client is raving about what a fantastic job you just did on your last project. Let’s say you’re a copywriter, and he’s telling you that he’s worked with dozens of writers in the past and no one has been able to hit just the right note the way you have.

“I’m so pleased you like it,” you say. “I know it can be rough finding a good writer. There are a lot of hacks out there. I’ve heard some horror stories.”

That’s his cue. Usually, your client will he’ll launch telling you about his own bad experience or that of another company he knows. Let him, and be sympathetic about it.

Make It a Habit
I know one entrepreneur who built a successful business almost solely on referrals. How’d he get so good at it? When he was an eager young sales apprentice, his manager trained him well. Every time he glanced at his watch, which he did often in his zeal to stay on schedule, it meant it was time to ask for a referral. Eventually, it became second nature.

Here are more easy ways to start developing good referral-building habits:

  • When you begin working with a new customer, make referrals part of your initial agreement. “If I do a great job for you–and I will–you agree to give me X number of referrals.” Chances are your customer will be impressed by your dedication and drive.
  • Whenever a customer compliments you, respond with a thank you, quickly followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?”
  • Use every client meeting as an opportunity to collect referrals. To keep yourself on track, jot a reminder down in your meeting preparation notes. Make it one of your standard talking points.
  • Set a weekly goal for yourself. Keep track of the number of referrals you ask for each day. You don’t need to limit your requests to clients; you can also ask business associates, acquaintances and prospects.
  • Make the most of every networking opportunity. Step out of your comfort zone at networking events and set a goal to talk to at least three new people. Plan in advance what you might say. We’re all drawn to interesting, enthusiastic people.
  • Always be specific when asking for a referral. Looking for high net worth individuals? Say so. Interested in midsize companies? Let them know. If you don’t tell your contacts who your target customer is, you’ll waste time pursuing leads you can’t use.
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