Brought to you by Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant
Issue #40 -- July 8, 2002
A weekly journal about building stronger relationships in business. Subscription information is available at the end of this newsletter. Thank you for reading.
Every publication from The Economist to the front page of the Wall Street Journal is screaming scandal, theft, and a hundred more reasons not to trust executives. Shareholders have lost trust and respect for executives and owners, and employees aren't feeling must better either. The relationships you have with those around you (both public and private) reflect on your company's ability to stay viable. If your customers don't trust you, they won't trust your products.
Last week's newsletter shared information about getting specific feedback for your business. If you're a high profile company (or any company) you better be putting that information to use right away, because you need to know how the current news is effecting they way people see your business. This week we are continuing on the thread of customer relations to talk specifically about leveraging positive relationships to build a referral system.
Referrals are so valuable. In fact, most subscribers to this newsletter have been referred by someone, or through a silent recommendation from another website. By the way, I do thank you for forwarding this newsletter to those who you think might benefit from the information provided. Once you've earned a referral, It could be the best business you've ever had.
Next week we'll cover leveraging your point of sale, touching on communications strategies to generate more income for your business. You'll learn that the point-of-sale isn't just something to concern retailers. Stay tuned and enjoy this week's issue.
Strategic Relations Consultant
Ps. Thank you so much for reading the Strategic Relations Journal. Keep sending your questions, I would like to start covering two or so each week to help you further build relationships in your business, email me anytime.
Pps. This week I'm preparing an article relevant to the scandals plaguing the headlines of major trade publications -- with the draft title of "Maintaining business relationships in times of uncertainty" for your pre-publication copy email me at maintain-relations (Article will be available in 15 days.)
One of the most successful ways to grow your business is by cultivating referrals through existing customers. It is important for you and your employees in order to understand the relationship aspect of referrals to make the most of its power. In this article, you will learn a simple method for gaining referrals called the Give-Review-Get Method. In learning this method, we will to highlight the important role of relationships play in the process of getting referrals.
When a customer gives you a referral they are extending the relationship you have with them to include another individual. The customer trusts that you will provide the individual they refer a comparable quality of service and actually make them look good for the recommendation. They are intrusting you with a powerful silent endorsement, it is your responsibility to make sure the customer will not be disappointed.
The basis of the Give-Review-Get Method of acquiring referrals is first you have to earn the right, next you make sure the customer has received real benefits, and then you ask for the referral. This method is simple; and can be used with anyone you meet in the course of doing business.
In earning the right, to receive referrals, you must first provide a level of quality your customer can be proud to refer their friends into. When a customer gives you a referral, they are taking a risk that your actions could harm the relationships between them and the individual referred. You must demonstrate to the customer that they can trust you with the recommendation and will be a positive reflection of their good judgment. The customer must know (through your consistency) that the person they refer will get the same benefits as they currently receive.
Once you have proven to the customer that you have earned the right to do business with people they know, you can then ask for referrals. But, how do you know the customer trusts your organization to serve their friends. You cannot just ask, or can you? In order to determine if the customer thinks you have earned the right to do business with their friends you need to review the benefits they have received.
In reviewing the benefits they have received, you put the customer in a positive mindset. This is done by asking the customer about a specifically about the benefits or results they are receiving through your products or services. Ask questions about your response time, your quality, and other questions you might ask if you were looking for feedback about your company. You will find this information valuable from the perspective of feedback but more importantly if all of the answers you receive are positive, it is time to ask for a referral.
You might say, "Mr. Customer, It sounds like you have received a number of benefits through working with our organization. Is there anyone who would also enjoy these benefits too?" The statement-question method puts the customer ready to share with you the information you need. If they answer the question, they have agreed with the statement. Since you have verified in fact that you have been a benefit to the customer, they should agree. You now are building on the positive relationship they have with your company by expanding your efforts to others they know.
If the customer provides you names, make sure you get as much contact information as the customer current has available. Depending on the price of your product or the position of the individual you are working with, you could even ask them kindly if they will call the referral to help you set up an appointment. There are various sales strategies for what to do with the referral itself that are beyond the scope of this article.
The bottom line is before you can ask for referrals you must have a positive relationship with the customer. If any negative experience comes up in the conversation make sure it is quickly taken care and addressed to the customers satisfaction. By sharing with you a referral the customer is entrusting you with one of their relationships, if there are any negative experiences beyond this point it will reflect poorly on the customers judgment.
In order to make the most from any referral system it is important to remember that you are leveraging your customer's reputation to gain additional business. If you compromise this relationship, you have not only lost potential business, but quite possibly your existing customer too. Anyone in your company that asks for referrals by any means must understand this or they could do your company more harm than good.
Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant, author, and speaker. Now available on Amazon.com, "101 Strategies for more Profitable Customers" tips booklet. For more about Justin, visit https://www.justinhitt.com/
© 2002 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
Any questions on implementing strategic relations in your business? Send your questions by email to Justin.Hitt@hittpansophism.com and I'll answer them here in this newsletter. Plus you'll receive valuable consulting that can start earning more money for your business without paying a single hour of consulting fees! Give it a try, It's worth it!
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© 2002 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved. Rights granted to forward, via electronic medium, this document in whole as long as the subscription and copyright portions remain intact.Center for Strategic Relations, Dept SRJ,PO Box 3123, Martinsville, VA 24115. http://www.iunctura.com/
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