It’s intriguing to think about why companies with a broad base of satisfied customers and highly connected employees hardly get any business referrals. It doesn’t make sense. You’d think that companies would be able to leverage their huge customer base. But that’s not how it works.
Turns out, the answer to the question of how to generate business referrals is a combination of using smart tools and the right approach.
Your referrals will gladly help, but they won’t spend time thinking about your ideal prospect.
Let’s assume that you’re a software company, getting ready to launch a new app. You can ask your satisfied customers for business introductions to similar prospects, and you can also offer them great incentives and discounts. But don’t expect much, because your efforts probably won’t yield great results.
Thinking about your ideal prospects and doing the research to get in touch with them could take hours. But you just don’t have that time. And neither do your connections. So, what’s the fast and easy way to find out which ideal prospects your contacts are connected to?
When you provide your contacts with the information they need to make a referral, you’re making life easy for them. So that when you ask “can you connect me to Joe Smith from Microsoft?” Your contact will happily oblige.
Make it a yes-able proposition. Write the intro for them.
You can’t expect your network of motivated customers, colleagues and even partners to draft referral requests for you. Instead, send them a self-contained email that they can easily forward to the person you want to reach. Include all relevant information about your product or service, and remember to keep it short and simple.
The email you send should be something along the lines of ”I noticed that you have a good relationship with Scott, the VP Marketing of Oracle. I believe that we can partner with Oracle, and I would love to get on their radar. Here’s a brief of what we do. Can you introduce me to Scott? Thank you in advance for your help.”
If you make life easy for your network, you may be surprised to find that they’ll even put in a good word for you, and add their own recommendations to your email.
Add a personal touch. It’ll help the people in your network say yes.
Generic intro requests won’t yield much results. If you want to increase the chances of people in your network agreeing to make an intro, make them feel special. Show them, you know them. Write a separate email for each introduction and personalize your message. Explain why you want to connect with them specifically and how much you value their relationship.
It should be something along these lines: “Hi, I noticed that you have a good relationship with the development team at Facebook. We are launching a new product, and I would love to invite John, the R&D Manager to join us…It would be invaluable to me and my company. Would you introduce me to John?”
Add your personal touch to the subject line as well. It will determine if your referral reads your request or deletes it. You can’t afford to be ignored. Don’t send generic titles like “Intro Request” but rather “Intro to Heather at Cisco.”
When the person in your network forwards your email to your target, they will immediately see their name and company name in the subject line. It will trigger their curiosity to open the email, and it sends the message that this business matter is important.
Don’t hesitate to ask. Just do it.
Your network has many people who are motivated to make referrals. When they help you with a business intro, and you close a deal, they win as well. Customers can get better terms, partners can get a piece of the deal, investors can gain better ROI, team members can receive recognition and maybe even some shared commission, and so on. Asking for referrals from the right people in your corporate network is a win-win proposition. So don’t hesitate to ask. Just do it.