Reaping referrals Featured

10:00am EDT July 22, 2002
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Generating new business is a constant challenge and referrals are one of the most valuable sources for leads that can be converted to sales.

Many business people, though, miss opportunities to land them. Tom Reda, who heads The Small Business Network in the North Hills, offers suggestions to boost your referral pool.

  • Offer incentives. Give cash, discounts, trips, gift certificates or other enticements for referrals.

  • Installers, delivery people, customer service reps and cashiers should all be coached to ask for referrals. Prepare a form for them to hand out.

  • When someone asks how your business is going, don't say, ""It couldn't be better."" Instead, say, ""Business is good, but we have to fight for every customer. Do you know anyone who would benefit from our product?""

  • Identify parallel businesses that have a strong synergy with yours. Make phoning, faxing, writing and visiting them part of your business plan.

  • Have a written referral business plan. Brainstorm with your staff for ways to get referrals. Review your plan every month and adjust accordingly.

  • Tell your clients that referrals are needed and important to your business.