We all want referrals. There’s no better way to grow your business than to have someone warmly and enthusiastically recommend you to another person.
We’ve written on this blog before about being referral-ready; that is, having a well-targeted, concise, and memorable message that people can pass on to one another (think of this as a verbal business card). But there’s something else that comes first, and that’s being referral-worthy.
A referral-worthy person or business has earned my enthusiastic endorsement by being trustworthy, competent, service-oriented (including warm and friendly), value-giving, and outstanding.
That’s 5 vital characteristics. Let’s start with the first – a trustworthy reputation.
I want to trust people I do business with. I want to deal with ethical people of character, not with sharks. In fact, the most precious thing you can develop over your years of work is a reputation of trustworthiness. If you’ve earned the trust of people I trust, you are already 85% of the way there.
I remember one of my referral partners talking about how he worked with a client based on the “pinky swear” – there was an agreement with a client about work to be done, and payment to be made, that allowed both parties to proceed immediately before all the bureaucratic paperwork was completed (those of you who work with Fortune 500 companies know all about that process). There was trust based on a track record of doing ethical business in a climate of mutual good will.
Frankly, that kind of reputation is a starting point for me with all of the companies I refer. If I can’t trust you, I can’t recommend you. No matter how “good” your stuff is. My name is at stake when I make a referral.
My financial planner; my accountant; my lawyer; the last realtor we used – all these relationships started with trust.
When I went for a total re-design of my website a couple years back, why did I choose Jesse Petersen? Easy – his reputation among others I knew. And I met him and trusted him.
Someone recently flew all the way down to Nashville to do a half-day Clarity Therapy session with me, based on referral-trust and short history of personal interaction. That kinda blew me away – that level of earned trust is a precious commodity not to be treated lightly.
People want to refer you. Becoming referral-ready with clear and compelling words is vital. But first and foremost, gain a referral-worthy reputation. There is no short-cut to a great reputation, which is what I love – trust is earned over time. The great people and companies will prosper over the long haul, while the poseurs eventually fall by the wayside.
Tell your stories in the comments – who (people or companies) has earned your trust such that you wholeheartedly recommend them to others? Give them a well-deserved shout-out!
Also on the blog: How to Become Referral-Ready – I’ll Speak at Your Next Event!
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