For founder-led consultancies, 41% of new business comes from referrals (source: the Consultancy BenchPress). And referrals are, without question, the channel with the lowest cost per sale.
A referred client is 50% more likely to refer you themselves. And they are 4 times more likely to buy from you than a cold introduction (source: Tony Robbins).
However, 80% of consultancies do not have a documented, systematic strategy for generating referrals.
These are the ten things you can do to maximise your consultancy’s referral strategy
- Positive mindset – many of us feel a little uncomfortable asking for a referral, however most people will want to help you and you will be glad you asked.
- Pre-identify – before your meeting review your client’s LinkedIn connections and establish who you would like to be referred to.
- Craft – ask each member of your team to craft their own personal request and then share them. Ensure there is enough specific content in the request to trigger the synapses.
- NPS – If you are not already, we recommend you measure your Net Promoter Score (NPS). This provides a perfect platform from which to ask clients for referrals. Such requests should be made centrally and then followed up in project reviews.
- Accountability – identify relationships from whom you could ask for a referral and assign internal ownership for getting a referral. Track the achievement or otherwise on a monthly basis.
- Third party incentives – agree appropriate incentives that will motivate third parties to think of your organisation when they have the opportunity to refer.
- Face to face – introductions via email are great but face to face (on-screen or in person) requests followed up via email will have greater success.
- Make it easy – send your client an introductory email that they can tweak and forward, so it only takes a few minutes of their time.
- Process – once a client has agreed to make an introduction be sure to follow up – don’t be shy, they have said yes.
- Reward – give thanks to those that refer you in an appropriate way that doesn’t conflict with the bribery act.
Thomas Coles is a serial entrepreneur – he has founded five businesses and sold three. He knows the challenges we all face as business owners and through his business, Effective Interim, he works with founders to help them transform their sales team’s capability. Thomas has developed an approach that flips you from ad hoc and ineffective requests for referrals to a structured approach that ensures your contact identifies at least one person to refer you to, there and then.
Thomas’s methodology involves identifying the one statement that is going to help your contact remember the person in their network who could have a need for what you offer. He says, “Knowing how to structure your consulting firm’s unique statement and why, enables you and your team to maximise new business through referrals.
Example referrals statements:
“[Name] came up on my LinkedIn as someone I should know and I noticed you’re connected to them. From what I read, they may be suffering from similar challenges to the ones we have helped you solve. Would you be open to introducing us on LinkedIn?“
“As you will probably appreciate, most of our work comes through referrals. Having given us an NPS of 9/10, would you be open to us exploring whether you are connected to some people who may be struggling with similar challenges to you?“
Members of The Consultancy Growth Network have access to the recording of a workshop Thomas ran for us in which they received feedback from him on their referral statement and tested it on each other. This is available to members via the Growth Hub.
Article | Sales and Marketing
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