Summary: Answer the seven questions and use the 19 Referral Habits Cheat Sheet below to decide which habit you most need next to get more referrals.
Since getting more referrals in your business means forming better habits, how clear are you about your habits?
Most of what you do is hardwired and happens without much conscious thinking. Your current referral habits are getting you your current results so you want to think much more deliberately about what you’re doing! Then decide what you need to do next.
One word of caution – and one reason this topic is not as simple as it sounds – is that your habitual ways of thinking also greatly impact the actions you take. So, for example, if you generally feel that asking for referrals is intrusive and awkward, many of the habits you need to get referrals are going to be sabotaged by what you’re thinking – even if it’s subconscious.
You want to start catching this thinking because it is an unhelpful habit that impedes your progress! When you go in the wrong direction mentally, you want to have productive business alternatives that make you feel good and support your long-term success.
It’s probably easiest to start identifying all your habits by listing the ones you already have. Consider this an ongoing work in progress.
Seven Questions for You About Your Referral Habits:
a) How satisfied are you right now with the number and quality of referrals on a scale of 1-10?
Generally, a 10 is outstanding and a 1 is dreadful. 7/10 is ‘okay’ but not good enough.
(NOTE! your current habits are getting you this score so unless you score yourself an 8 or higher, you probably need a new habit and/or more consistency with the right habit/s)
b) What probably needs to change or be done more consistently in order to move this closer to a 9?
Write down your answer.
Avoid the trap of being too vague! In other words, avoid writing things like ‘I need to ask more’, ‘better marketing’, ‘hold more events’ or ‘more confidence asking’.
Make your ‘what needs to change’ as measurable as you can even if your scoring is subjective: e.g.
*Ask for referrals at least 5 times/week (or whatever the right volume is for you – just don’t go from once/month to ten times/week right away)
*Send out mail and email newsletters once/month to keep my name top of mind with my network
*Schedule quarterly events for clients and top referral sources starting in June etc.
*Increase my confidence with asking from a 2/10 to a 6/10 in next 2 months by using a system, practicing a script and revisiting my must-have reasons to ask list.
c) List your current habits (that are getting you a _/10):
Write down what comes to mind and add to it over time because many habits you have are so hardwired you may not be able to recall them easily! Use the Cheat Sheet list that comes after these seven questions (a-g) for further ideas. Scroll down.
d) What’s your best habit?
Acknowledge where you get the best results today. Use common sense in writing down three if that’s the most accurate response. It is very possible that more consistency with this and the past success you’ve had in this area could quickly accelerate you back to a 9/10.
e) What’s your most unhelpful habit?
Be honest with yourself. There’s no one looking! For many people in business development roles, the true response here is ‘hardly ever asking’. Again, if you have more than one poor habit, know what the enemy looks like!
f) Are there other limiting factor/s?
The lower your score, the more likely it is that you have more than one limiting area. It is also extremely likely that you have ways of thinking and patterns of thought that are not helping.
g) What’s the next habit you need to add?
Start with one new habit right away that would have the greatest impact and schedule it. Once it’s fairly engrained, then add another. For most people, it is unwise to list several things here and expect to address them all at once. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
Do this exercise monthly!
Referral Habits Cheat Sheet
3. Using a system that helps you monitor your referral source relationships and focus on the best ones
4. Using written agendas and emailing them in advance
5. Getting open-ended feedback from clients
8. Writing down names that come up in meetings of others they know and like who sound like good prospects
10. Specific asks
11. Using email and LinkedIn to share memory joggers of referrals you’re seeking
12. Coaching others how to introduce you
13. Keeping control of all referral opportunities
14. Using a referral tracker
15. Allocating specific amounts of time for meetings with other biz professionals including your top referral sources
16. Attending people-orientated events to grow your network
17. Weekly time to review your prospect and referral lists
18. Scheduling time for other activities that generate referrals for you (e.g. social media, LinkedIn, speaking, writing, podcasts) – IF they actually DO generate referrals
19. Keep referral sources informed about progress with referrals they have sent your way
I repeat: Start with one new habit right away that would have the greatest impact and schedule it. Once it’s fairly engrained, then add another. For most people, it is unwise to list several things here and expect to address them all at once. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
And do this exercise monthly!
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Copyright Matt Anderson, 2017