If you've ever wondered how to get more referrals, and who hasn't, the answer is actually easier than you might think. You simply need to "be remembered." I know, doesn't seem all that complicated right? However, I've seen it too many times when the name escapes your mind when trying to give a referral. You know you liked who you worked with, but if only you could remember what her name was. That could have been a new mortgage or a sale of a new home or a car.

So how do you do it? How do you stay remembered? You need something that's not going to use up more of your already stretched time budget. So just start following the advice of Tom Hopkins, author of "Mastering the Art of Selling." He created a 100% referral real estate business by creating the thank you note habit.

It does feel a little awkward at first when you are starting the thank you note habit. When should you send them, to who, and for what reasons? Tom generated 10 circumstances that are perfect for sending thank you cards.

1. After a telephone contact.
2. In person contact.
3. After a demonstration or presentation.
4. After a purchase.
5. For a referral.
6. After a final refusal.
7. Even after the buy from someone else.
8. After the buy from someone else, but offer to give you referrals.
9. To anyone who gives you service.
10. Anniversary Thank you.

A friend of mine recently told me of a story where she used this method for getting the job she wanted. She worked as a stage manager in New York. The competition for this position is just as fierce as the competition for the acting gigs. What she did was send something every few months to the people in charge of filling that position. She started with a fruit basket and a card, then reminder notes every other month or so. Something very simple to do yet set her apart from the crowd. Oh, and yes, she did get a job from it!

This exact same thing was used with another friend. He told me of a this ad agency in London that he really wanted to get into. To him, trying to get a job there was like trying to work for the CIA. He sent resume after resume, even after they reassured him that they do in fact have his resume on file, he continued. Yep, this worked for him too!

So what does this have to do with generating referrals? Well, everything of course. You see, when you develop this habit, you can't help but be remembered. Being a business owner, you know how important referrals are. Referrals are the absolute best way to generate new customers. Referrals are not cold calls, or random pieces of direct mail. They are hot prospects referred to you by someone they like and trust.

Furthermore, according to a poll by MarketingBestPractices.com showed that over 40% of small business owners said that referrals brought in the biggest returns over any other form of marketing.

You have to develop your personal relationships. Yes, it takes some time and work, but this can be some of the most satisfying work of your career. This is what relationship marketing is all about. Developing relationships virtually assures that when the time comes, your clients and prospects will remember and refer your business.

Arguably the greatest salesman in the world, Joe Girard, was able to develop a system of staying in touch with his customers and prospects. Joe made it a point to create a list and write down the personal information of everyone he met. He then sent his list a greeting card every single month. He wasn't selling anything in the cards, not even asking for a referral, these were just simple cards with a friendly “hello!” He simply reminded people that he was there.

Joe never quit. He ended up needing to hire two assistants to help him send out almost 13,000 hand written greeting cards! What did this do for Joe? Well, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Joe Girard sold more cars and trucks on a one-on-one basis than anyone else in the world, for 12 consecutive years!

Joe Girard has challenged many men and women of Fortune 500 companies to "step up to life" and "plan for what you get and deserve..."

Joe has sold more retail big ticket items one-at-a-time than any other sales person in any retail industry including houses, boats, motor homes, insurance automobiles, etc. To date, his record has still not been broken.

These days, there are many contact management systems in place that can take care of a lot of this work for you. If you search around, you'll find some really good ones that can even send your greeting cards at the times you set, including birthdays, all automatically. So, don't put this off if you think you are too busy.

Your Three Steps to Generating Referrals

Step 1: Spend just a few minutes researching a contact management system that works for your business. Make sure it has a greeting card option with it.

Step 2: Once you've acquired the right system, learn it! Learn everything it can do for you and implement as much as you can.

Step 3: Load all your contacts into it and send a card that let's them know you were thinking about them. You may end up with a few referrals on your first run!

Author's Bio: 

Here's a good place to get started on your search. I run a site that teaches small business owners how to use Business Greeting Cards to build their business. Find resources on contact management systems as well as custom graphic designs. BrilliantGreetingCards.com