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When it comes to selecting a business to patron, the truth is that we are most likely to take advice from someone we know, than to listen to the persuasion of an advertisement.

When someone that  we know or recognizes, endorses a business, we also want to jump on the bandwagon, to be like our peers, and we don’t want to miss out on ‘what every one else is doing.’

So how do you get your customers to refer you other customers?
You start the relationship with the expectation. “My business relies heavily on referrals. When we are mostly done with this project, if you are happy with my services, please refer people like you that can also benefit from my work”

Referral cards can reward referrals. The best salesman in the world left a stack of referral cards in every car he sold. These cards rewarded the referral with discounts and the referrer with a $50 prize. the cards cost him $40 or so per car, and when his dealership recognized that this system worked, they were happy to take on the cost and sell more cars. So here is an idea – go to a low cost business card printer like moo.com or vistaprint.com and order individualized business cards for a customer. Is this $30 dollar or so investment worth generating just one sale? What if half the cards turn into 25 sales? Then what if you give each of those sales a personalized set of cards? What could this do for your business?

There are strategic groups and clubs for referrals. Look in your area for BNI and other business referral groups. Many of these groups allow you to visit once and distribute your cards – what if your  cards say ‘WE PAY REFERRALS”

Form a referral circle of your own. Select a small group of professionals that are in related industries, but do not compete. A photographer could have a videographer, hair stylist, make-up artist, web site designer, wardrobe stylist, body painter and marketing guru. One model that the photographer books could become a potential customer for the entire group!

Referral partners become cash cows if you can nurture them first. If you can send hot leads to your circle, they will feel more motivated and obligated to find you leads also.

If you rely on local business, look for business card tables, and leave some flashy cards. Join associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and be sure to get your business listed in the directory.

One of the best ways that I have received referrals was from a single video. I thanked some friends by name for sending me business, I let the world know that my business highly depends on referrals and  I asked for some new people to help. I told my audience exactly what I was looking for from leads. I posted these videos on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin. In one week, I received 40+ qualified leads, with introductions!

A great way to get referrals is to ask for them. Go to some of your former clients, remind them how you have helped, and ask for referrals!