Written by: Vikram Rajan
Whether you’re an individual trying to climb the corporate ladder, or a business owner looking to grow your business, referrals and word of mouth can be one of the most important keys to success. However getting referrals doesn’t come easy for everyone. Do you feel as though you deserve to be referred more, but you still struggle to get those leads? Do you know of other businesses who seem to be constantly pulling in referrals? What is their secret? The 4 C’s!
In order for a person to refer an individual or business, they must first and foremost consider you to be credible. One way to build credibility is through your credentials. Your degrees, certifications, professional awards and other credentials serve as third-party endorsements. Testimonials are another great way to build credibility. Testimonials provide “social proof”; evidence that others know you, like you, and trust you.
Credibility can also be built through the image you project to others. If you come across as confident in yourself, it naturally inspires others to have confidence in you as well. Pay close attention to your communication style and body language to be sure that you come across as professional, self-assured, and confident in your message.
2) CUSTOMER SERVICE
Great service begins even before a prospect becomes a customer. Even if a person doesn’t become a customer, great service can mean that they remember you and prove to be a great source of referrals in the future.
Being responsive is a key part of good customer service. Now more than ever, fast response is necessary. Hours feel like days, especially to a hot prospect. Meet deadlines; exceed expectations. Your website should also be ‘responsive’. Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be fast and feature your contact info frequently in a way that’s impossible for your readers to miss.
Use social media to help showcase how strong your customer service skills are. Stay engaged; monitor social media mentions about you (or your market) with tools like Hootsuite (or Buffer, which Neil Patel recommends in the “13 Tools That You Need to Learn Before Going ‘All In’ with Social Media”).
While it may seem “the best way to be referred is to be the best at what you do,” this is rarely the case: It’s often not what you know – or how good you are – but how you showcase it. Content marketing has become a buzz phrase, but seminars and editorials have been fueling inbound marketing for decades.
Testimonials, case studies, and before-and-after reports of your work are all excellent forms of content. You can also use surveys and trend reporting to make use of market-generated data for your content marketing.
One of the best ways to create content is to become an author. Start with a regularly produced blog (which in time, can easily be edited into a book) By being an author, you raise your credibility and give your connections something to tell others…every single time you publish something new. Guest blogging is also a great way to gain exposure. Think about your network and if you know anyone whose audience would benefit from your personal expertise.
As the saying goes, “It’s not [just] what you know; it’s who you know.” Who are the VIP in your Circle of Influence (COI)? Try to cultivate these relationships as much as possible. Be where they are. Be a guest or, better yet, join their networking and professional associations. Sponsor, exhibit, and (be) present there.
Also consider how you can be a connection for others. Give first. Rave about them. How can you become one of their VIP? How can you connect them with their preferred VIP COIs?
When you strengthen the first 2 C’s (Credibility & Customer Service), you’ll able to capitalize on the second 2 C’s (Content & Connections). You need to be remembered – through repetition – in order to be recommended. As you leverage the 4C’s, you will grow more referrals.