How to Get More Clients and Referrals
As a business owner, every day is a great day to reflect on the customers you’re grateful to already have and the avenues you have for getting more. Today, I’m going to share some things you can do to show your customers and referral partners how thankful you are for them and to give them reasons to be grateful for you and want to work with you.
It starts by grouping your customers into four quadrants
Your first step is to divide your customers into four groups, so you know what kind of help each group needs and how they fit into your business’ goals.
In this section, I’ll outline the quadrants, and give you some guidelines for reaching out to the people in them.
Quadrant 1: Customers who are both profitable and referable.
These are the customers who can still benefit from continuing to work with you, and who also need the services of some of your referral partners.
For example, if you’re a Realtor® who’s helped a client to sell their current home and is working on helping them buy a new one, they still need your assistance, and they’ll also need a lawyer, moving van, home inspector, and loan officer or mortgage broker to help them complete the transaction and move.
When dealing with this type of client, here are a few steps you can take to maximize the value you give them and the profit you make in the process:
Make a list of all the steps or items they need.
What all will your client need in order to buy their new home, move in, get settled down, and start this next chapter of their life?
Write all those steps and items down.
Determine which of those steps you’ll provide, and which you won’t.
If they’ll need products or services of yours that you haven’t already presented to them, create a proposal that includes a list of everything you want to offer them, an explanation of why they need those things, and the price.
And if they need other people’s services or items, make a list of those things, then look at your database of referral partners to see who you can recommend to them in order to fulfill those needs.
Talk to the client.
Arrange a time to speak with the client, and tell them how much you enjoyed working with them, how grateful you are for them, and that you’ve been thinking about how to get them the best possible results.
Take this opportunity to learn about their needs, goals, and obstacles, and to find out what problems they’ve been struggling with and what side effects those issues are causing in their lives.
During this conversation, don’t just find out what they want – find out WHY they want it because this can help you to identify needs and opportunities that the clients themselves haven’t thought of yet.
To return to the example of the Realtor®, you could find out why they want to move to this new area. Chances are, they don’t just want a new house; they might want more space for their growing family, a shorter drive to work or school, a safer neighborhood, or a garden.
Once you know this, you know that they might also need child care services, gardening supplies, and toys or sports equipment for the kids.
By learning about the desires behind their purchase, you become better equipped to not only find them a house that suits their needs but also to recommend other goods and services that will help them create the life they want.
During this conversation, you can mention items from the list you came up with, and see if they fit with the client’s wishes and plans.
Once you know what they want, tell them what you think they need in order to get it, why they need the things you’re recommending, and the next step they should take, whether it’s contacting your referral partner, buying a product, or something else.
When you’re telling them what their next step is, be specific. Don’t just say “get in touch with this guy”; give them the referral partner’s contact information, and recommend the best times of day to call them.
If you don’t hear anything about the situation for a few days, follow up to see if they’ve made contact with the strategic partner. If they haven’t, offer to introduce the two of them via an email you send to both of them, a three-way call, or a shared coffee meeting.
Quadrant 2: Customers who are profitable but not referable.
These are customers who still need your help, but don’t need any of your referral partners at this time, or don’t have the time or money to take on anything besides your offer.
The procedure for dealing with these people is very similar to the process for approaching customers in Quadrant 1, except that you won’t offer them your strategic partners’ products or services at this point in time.
Quadrant 3: Customers who are not profitable, but referable.
These customers no longer need your products or services, but they do still need additional help to get the results they desire.
As with the first two quadrants, make a list of the things you think they require in order to get their desired result, have a conversation in which you learn about their needs, obstacles, and desires, then make specific and actionable recommendations and follow up.
If you have trouble figuring out who to refer your clients to and how, have your current and potential strategic partners fill out a “how to refer people to me” form and send it to you, so you know who their ideal clients are and how to make the referral.
Quadrant 4: Customers who are not profitable, and not referable.
These customers either don’t need you anymore or might need you in the future but don’t right now.
They also don’t need your referral partners – either that, or they’re financially tapped out and just aren’t open to spending money on anyone at this time.
But just because they don’t need or want to buy anything now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future, so it can still be beneficial to stay at the top of their minds.
Send them a quick email, postcard, social media message or phone call to thank them for their past patronage, wish them a happy Thanksgiving, and tell them you’ll be there if they ever need help with the problem you solve.
By doing this, you maintain your relationship with them, make them feel good about you, and encourage them to think of you if they ever reach the point where they’re ready to work with you again.
Ready to meet more strategic partners and exchange more referrals?
Now that you’ve found some opportunities to make referrals, it’s time to find strategic partners to whom you can make those referrals, and who can recommend you to their clients in turn!
If you want to give your clients better results, to help your fellow business owners, and to serve more people and make more money, we’d be happy to welcome you to our next BNI meeting.