Generate never-ending referrals

By Tyler Hoffman, FMA

Tyler Hoffman


Generating never-ending referrals is my favorite subject, and probably yours as well. We do such a poor job of asking for and getting great referrals, and it's an easy problem to fix. We need to stop generating referrals by chance, and start generating them both proactively and by design.

If you follow the steps I give you in this article, you will average three referrals each for every client to whom you give your personal branding tool.

Does that mean that every client will give you three? No, that's an average. Some give you more, and some won't give you any referrals, but you should average three referrals for every client that gets your personal branding tool over a 12-month period of time.

Referral formula: For every three referrals you receive, there's one immediate sale.

Referrals: What has to happen?
In order for you to receive a referral, your client has to do all the work. Your client has to go out and sell you and explain what you do to someone else. It's not that they don't want to refer you; they do. It's not that they don't want to, they just don't know how.

So, how do we fix that problem? Don't rely on the client to do all the work. How do we do that? Remove the burden off of the client. How do we do that? You create a tool that tells the story for them. That's the role of your personal branding tool. The problem with a paper business card is that it doesn't even begin to tell your story. In fact, it doesn't tell any story.

Perfect tool
A multimedia presentation or even a book you've written is the ideal centerpiece of a successful referral campaign. It's the perfect tool to send to your client in order to remove the burden from them, and it's an even better tool to send to the referral once you get them to tell your story. Until you have something in the centerpiece of your referral campaign, you'll never get as many referrals as you should or could.

You remember the bell curve? If we laid your entire client base down this bell curve, here is what you would find:

On one end, you have about 20 percent of your clients, who will refer you no matter what. They just love to play the referral game. On the other end, you've got another 20 percent of your clients that will never refer you, no matter what. You don't need your personal branding tool for either of those two groups. One group is already referring you without it, and the other isn't going to refer you even with it.

That leaves the bulk of your clients — the 60 percent that will refer you if you make it easy for them to do. Just think about it: If you have 300 clients, 180 of them would love to start referring you, and all you have to do to make it happen is to make it easy for them. How do you make it easy? You must create a tool that tells your story for them. That's the role of your personal branding tool.

One leads to another
If done properly, one referral leads to another, and then another. It is never thrown out but passed on and on.

I like best that a high-touch personal branding tool refers you upward. Because the perceived value is so high, they are selective in whom they give you. They're saying to themselves: "Tyler is going to send this beautiful package to the people we refer him to, so we better only give him really good names."

The personal branding tool generates true referrals, not just names. If used properly, you'll generate referrals that are pre-qualified, pre-endorsed, pre-sold and go to the bank, because they are 15 times more likely to take the next step and become a client.

You decide. If we look at the big picture, there's no question a high-touch personal branding tool wins hands down. The question is, when will you get it working for you?