by Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
Referrals mean you don't have to market and advertise all the time any more. They're the mainstay of a practice or business. Here are some things to know about them:
Would YOU refer to just anyone? Of course, not, you'd want to know something about the person first. There's too much at stake. So do the courtship before you pop the questions. Build a reputation of exceptional service. Then get out to meetings, etc. where you're your professional self. When appropriate, explain to others what you do. Don't assume they know what "coaching" means, or that your beauty salon also offers massages.
Watch your 'attraction' energy. If you're desperate for anything, you'll drive it away. People can sense it. They want to do business with you because THEY need it, not because YOU do.
You know how the new hairdresser asks you who on earth cut your hair that way? Never badmouth the person who refers. If they aren't good, you shouldn't be referring with them. If they are good, say so. Don't try to steal their client. Use your emotional intelligence and stay in the loop.
To get referrals, give referrals. Start the ball rolling. Let it be known you give referral fees if it's ethical in your field. Keep the referrer informed, within confidentiality, and be sure and thank them and ask for more. Let people know you referred to them; sometimes the clients don't make the connection.
Who to ask? Form strategic alliances with people in allied fields with services you don't supply, vendors, someone will a full practice.
When to ask? Use your EQ and intuition for the right time. One right time is right after you're delivered a great service. "If you're pleased, I hope you'll refer your friends and associates to me."