3 Quick Tips to Remove “Referral Fear” and Boost Customer Referrals Today
According to Nielsen prospects are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. So why aren't you getting a consistent flow of these liquid gold leads? The short answer is what I call “Referral Fear”
Referral fear occurs across the whole referral transaction:
Fear in the Asker (You). If you don't ask you don't get and it's usually fear of rejection that's stopping you.
I assumed if I did a great job, my clients would refer me to their network. They didn't so I had to stop pretending to be too cool for school and start asking. This is when I hit the second type of referral fear.Referrals: If you don’t ask you don’t get! – Kenny Goodman Click To Tweet
Fear in The Referrer. Although I noticed a slight bump in referrals when I created an ‘ask’ strategy, the numbers were low. This was due to a hidden reluctance, even in some of my best clients.
It was only when someone asked me to vouch for and introduce them to one of my most valuable contacts that I realised the problem: If anything went wrong I could lose one of my best contacts, which caused reluctance in me.
I phoned a mastermind buddy to pick his brain on how to overcome this second type of fear. He inadvertently introduced me to the third type of referral fear via a rant.
Fear in The Prospect. Paraphrase – “Don't talk to me about referrals. I'm sick of people popping up on Linkedin and making contrived intros so that their mates can sell me something. It's just plain awkward and if I want to buy something I'll do it on my own terms!”
He was having a bad day and I didn’t get any useful advice but his rant demonstrated fear in the prospect as well.
So do you let referrals take their natural course or can you do something different, reduce fear and turn on the referral tap? I've read lots of clever sales & persuasion books & tried various strategies in this area. Some work, some don’t.
Here are three steps that will guarantee fear reduction and increase referral flow:
Create a Referral Toolkit. I asked Steve Gordon author of Unstoppable Referrals recently how he banishes referral fear. Like me he swears by referral lead magnets or what he likes to call referral toolkits.
A referral toolkit is something of value that you give to prospects for free. It can be anything from a hardback book you've authored, a special report, white paper or webinar. It should contain valuable information demonstrating your subject expertise, whilst helping your prospects. This builds the critical “know”, “like” and “trust” they need to feel before committing further.
Offering your referrer the opportunity to gift this to a prospect removes a lot of awkwardness. This reduces referral fear in both you & the referrer. It also reduces any fear in the prospect by removing any awkward introductions. It gives them the choice to act on it, or not, in their own time, on their own terms.
TIP: Personally send the toolkit to the prospect whilst acknowledging the referrer. This gives you the control to ensure the toolkit gets into their hands, whilst coat tailing on the trust of the referrer.
So that's fear reduction. Next, how to get the toolkit into the right hands to increase conversions.
Make it super easy for the referrer. Another great tip from Steve is to do your research before asking. So instead of relying on the referrer to find good recipients of your toolkit, research prospects yourself. Look who the referrer works with on Linkedin for example. See who looks like a good fit, then ask the referrer their opinion. Sometimes they give a thumbs up and sometimes they say “No. Joe Smith is a pain in the ass. Avoid like the plague!” Either way you get well informed.
TIP: Ask the referrer how they think the toolkit would benefit each individual prospect and why? This allows you to stand out from the crowd and be super targeted in your communication with each prospect. Doing this will help you quickly bond with the prospect and will increase conversion.Want to turn up the volume and infuse more motivation into your referrers?
Incentivise them using The Uber Method. Rewarding referrers increases their motivation to refer. This is why affiliate marketing is so popular. Affiliates are just a bunch of people paid a commission to refer other peoples’ products or services. Unfortunately some people feel inauthentic by taking a commission or gift for referring someone.
So how do you overcome this if you want to incentivise? I call it The Uber Method because their referral strategy has persuaded me to refer more people than any other service. They reward both the referrer and the recipient with a free taxi ride, making both feel special. This also gives Uber brand new customers (without any risky advertising).
You have the choice to play the “referral waiting game” like I used to or you can create a consistent pipeline using just one of these tips.
Add all three and you have a strong long-term formula for your referral marketing strategy.