The most important aspect in generating referrals is something I can’t help you with.
You are 100% on your own for this critical piece.
And interestingly enough, it doesn’t have anything to do with your direct referral generating plan.
But it has everything to do with understanding the client experience.
What is this crucial piece – the foundation – to setting yourself up to receive referrals.
That you do great work.
No one will refer to you if you do crappy work. But it is more than just giving bad advice or delivering a shoddy product.
Clients also view “crappy work” when the experience they were expecting by working with you, doesn’t happen. When the client experience is not aligned from the client’s expectations what they feel is a choppy experience.
So why does this matter so much?
Because a solid client experience produces clients who are “sticky.”
Sticky clients ‘stick’ around…they are your returning or repeat customers. They talk positively about you building up your brand and reputation. And they happily refer other people to you.
If we are looking to create “an experience” for our referral sources as the crux of our referral generating plan…the same goes for our clients.
Maya Angelou’s timeless quote sums it up well…
“…people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
An experience you are intentional about for your clients makes them feel a certain way…like they are connected to you, they know they mean more than a number or dollar amount, that you care.
The Client Experience (CX) Equation
Think about the work you do for your clients in in this way…
The “work” you do is the engagement ring…it’s pretty, it’s shiny, and it lasts (hopefully) because it is real.
The Tiffany blue box the ring comes in or how you propose (like in a hot air balloon as my husband did) is the relationship you build with your client.
Together – the work and the relationship create the client experience.
The work touch points with the relationship touch points form the client experience equation.
For a client experience to elevate your referrals – it means you are more referable.
You are worth talking about.
You make an impact with a seamless process that can’t be kept a secret.
I’m driven to share and bring you up in conversation.
My radar goes off when anyone mentions a problem I know you can solve.
And I’m honored to connect anyone needing your help with you – for all the right reasons.
I’m guessing you understand the “work” side of the client experience equation. The work touch points are the documents that need to be completed, the delivery of the work product, the meetings and calls to discuss next steps or gather more information, the annual report, the troubleshooting of any issues, etc.
What most have questions about is the relationship touch points – the packaging.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated packaging – just a simple streamlined process where the focus in on making it repeatable for each and every client. You need to make sure you welcome and thank them for choosing you, set expectations for what it is like to work with you, have a plan for continued communication with them throughout the process and add in one (maybe two) unexpected “wows”…just a little something they didn’t expect that builds and strengthens the connection they have with you.
When Does the Client Experience Start
Most people confuse the client experience with the buyer’s journey. But they are separate with their own start and end points. The buyer’s journey is when the client is making the decision to work with you – when they are still a prospect. It starts when they first learn about your company – through meeting you, being referred to you, an online search, an advertisement – and ends when they make the decision to hire you.
And once they decide to hire you the client experience begins. Think of the starting point as they the moment they decide, “yes, I want to work with you.”
Through Your Client’s Eyes
Have you ever considered what your work touchpoints and your relationship touchpoints look like to your client?
It is critical you take a minute and review what it looks like to work with you through the eyes of your clients.
But I’m not going to leave you hanging…download the “What it is like to work with you” assessment and answer the questions to understand where your client experience is solid, where you have gaps. Then focus on making changes to elevate your client experience. Because having sticky clients is a cornerstone to build from for a solid referral strategy.