Referral Means Reference

Take a second and think about this: the act of referring a professional, their product, or their service, is the same as providing a reference. As professionals, if we want more referrals, we want to think about them as references. Getting the framing right can make all the difference in generating more business.

In customer service (or go ahead and be fancy, “in direct to consumer/D2C businesses”), a referral is the gold standard for how people hear about what we do.

A good referral definitionally gives a good reference to the profession, product, or service being recommended.

So – if we want more referrals we have to make sure our products and services are easy to reference. That means we should design our offerings around:

How they easily fit into a customer-centric story,

How they clearly can be explained or described via the customer’s experience,

And how they obviously, once stated, are associated as an answer to a relatable problem

Bad references lead to bad referrals. If a customer can’t understand why they’re at the center of the story, what exactly you did for them in their own terms, and why life was obviously better because of it, they can’t refer you.

Good references lead to good referrals. If our customers know our offering makes them feel like the hero, if they can talk about what we did and why they had a great experience, then when given the opportunity, they’re going to ultimately refer us to others.

We all want more referrals. So remember, referral means reference. Think about perceptions and work backwards. It’s not just about who they can introduce to us, it’s about how clearly they reference us in their own minds and to others.

Want more? See also, “The Client Is Always The Hero.”

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