Copyright 2005 David Frey
Yes, I admit it - I hate asking for referrals - don’t you? Be honest. Doesn’t your heart start to pump faster and hands start to sweat even thinking about asking a customer for a referral?
If you’re like me, you hate to impose on others. Asking for names of friends or family members almost makes you feel as though you’re selling a multi-level marketing opportunity.
Not to worry. There are many ways to get a continual stream of qualified referrals without having to go through painful process of asking for referrals face-to-face.
The secret to getting referrals without asking for them is to develop referral systems that do asking for you. Here are six innovative systems for getting referrals without asking.
Referral System # 1
Make a list of people / businesses that sell complimentary products and services to your own product or service. If you sell athletic shoes your list might include health clubs, running clubs, basketball teams, or podiatrists. Now create a referral program that pays referral fees for people that are sent to you by your referral partners.
To make this system more effective, give your referral partners customized coupons, tickets, or cards that referral brings with them to your business so that you can correctly track each referral source.
Referral System # 2
Approach charities in your local area to get a list of donors that already give to charity. The United Way is a good place to start. Most United Way donors make advanced pledges or set goals to give a specified amount to United Way.
Now approach executive sponsor of United Way donation drive and make a proposal. Propose that for every referral that is sent from their organization to your business, you will take a percentage of your sale and donate it to United Way (or whatever charity they are affiliated with) in their name.
Referral System # 3
Local churches are always looking for innovative ways to raise money to sustain programs they offer to their members. Most churches would be enthusiastic about opportunity to receive a donation from you or your business.
Simply call up ecclesiastical leader and ask if you can meet with him/her to talk about a potential fundraising activity. Propose that for every referral (church member) they send your way, you will donate a percentage of sales to church. In return, church should agree to promote your business.
This same referral tactic can be done with booster clubs of local sports teams, Boy Scout troops and other organizations looking to raise money.
Referral System # 4
The fourth referral system is very simple. Give your products or services away (or significant discounts on your products or services) in local raffles. In my hometown of Friendswood, Texas local Ford dealer gives away a brand new truck in a 4th of July raffle through local Chamber of Commerce.
The tickets sold in raffle go towards paying for cost of truck and dealership gets to display new truck for several months leading up to raffle in high-profile areas provided by businesses that are members of Chamber of Commerce.