Here is a simple yet effective referral system. When you sit down to do business with someone explain to them that one of the ways you are paid is by having your happy clients (implying they will be a happy client) introduce you to 3-7 people that could also benefit from this service. This will start the relationship with your client off with the understanding that referrals are the expected practice.
In this referral system you can even get permission to ask them for a referral later by saying something like, “After 3 months we will sit down again to see how the program is going for you. If at that time you are happy with the results you are receiving I am going to be asking you for the names of 3-4 people you know who may be looking for the same results as you. Does that sound fair?” This is great for those who may be a little hesitant to ask for a referral at the very beginning of a relationship. It allows for a little more rapport to be built before asking for a referral. This may in fact get you better referrals in the long run as the client has a better understanding of you and your business. However, this is contingent upon you doing a good job. Obviously if you do a poor job you will not be getting any referrals after 3 months.
Another alternative to this referral system is to add an option during the sales process. For example, either you pay the full price of $200 or you get the service for $125 if you do X# of qualified introductions, or some combo of the two. Note, the prices are just an example, so make sure whatever numbers you choose they are a good return on investment for your business.
The key to being successful with this referral system is to make the request for referrals part of your sales or follow-up presentations. If you need to implement scripts for yourself or your sales staff in order to make sure that this is being done on a regular basis, do so. If you are not consistently asking then you will not receive consistent results. And consistent results are exactly what you can expect from this referral system when implemented regularly.
The more you ask, the more comfortable you will feel with asking and you will learn how to tweak it to fit your personality best. Remember, if you don’t ask, it’s a definite no. Start getting business referrals today!