As I went to my twice weekly Pilates session recently, I realized that I had never referred the studio I go to to any friends or clients. I am one of those “loyal-as-the-day-is-long” types and love to share my favorite resources so this surprised me. I realized that there were a couple of reasons. Firstly, while I genuinely enjoy my Pilates trainers, I don’t like the owner of the studio. I find her abrasive, unfriendly, and she doesn’t maintain the place in a fashion that I would consider truly professional. Secondly, while I’ve seen others there, I really have no idea who constitutes a good referral if I did want to share! So with this brief story, I’d like to share with you how to turn on your faucet of referrals!

Be friendly! Always greet everyone you come into contact with professionally and with a smile. It doesn’t matter if they are going to do business with you or not, they likely know people that would be great clients or customers.

Keep it clean! Maintain your product or premises in a clean, professional manner. Design counts! Making an office, showroom, or shop inviting always adds to the word of mouth that can grow your business. For those that work out of their car, that appearance counts as does a professional personal image. (Believe me; even in Pilates for the owner to look just-rolled-out-of-bed isn’t serving her.)

Be Targeted! Find out about your clients and customers. Dig deep so you know who your target is and know why they like to patronize your business or buy your products. Knowing this translates into knowing who else is your ideal fit.

Ask, Ask, And Ask! Always welcome existing clients and customers to refer their friends, family, and associates. Whether you do this verbally or have a small sign by the door or even a friendly note framed on the counter isn’t important. But you must ASK.

Make It Easy! When you ask for a referral spell out carefully in detail who you are looking for. You aren’t a fit for just anyone, but you want your best client or customer so describe that person. Again this can be in person, “I so enjoy working with you, it would be a treat to work with (be of service to) any of your friends that you think would benefit from my product/service.” Or you can put this on the framed note or the placard by the door.

Reward the Giver! Always when you get a referral, reward the giver. At the least with a note of thanks, often something more like a free session, a complementary product, or other incentive. They don’t need to know about this in advance. Surprisingly many people are motivated more by a do-good feeling than by tangible rewards, but this reinforces their good and generous behavior.

© 2008 Melissa Galt

Author's Bio: 

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Melissa Galt is the Six Figure Professional and Small Business Success Systems Specialist, she can be found online at Melissa Galt and on Facebook and Twitter by name. Get in touch, why wait another day to get the success you've been missing?