As an HR consultant for small businesses, referrals will be absolutely key to a successful business. Find a few reliable referrers and you have a regular stream of income from someone else effectively doing your marketing for you.
But there is one significant challenge for those who may potentially refer you, and that is that it is entirely likely they have never used your services themselves, at least not by the first time they recommend you.
Your referrer, quite sensibly, and in protection of their own business and reputation, will not want to recommend someone to their clients or contacts who they are not certain will do a good job and can meet whatever need the client has.
This is one of the key reasons why the ‘show not tell’ approach to business development is so important and works so well for small business HR consultants. Being all salesy and telling everyone how good you are, as well as not coming naturally to most HR professionals anyway, will not overcome this hurdle.
Instead, you want to ensure that those who might potentially be able to refer you, are in as close a position as possible to experiencing the benefits you bring, the knowledge and experience you have, and the approach you take to the services you provide, without having to actually engage you directly themselves.
So consider all the opportunities these potential referrers have to see you ‘in action’. In conversation with you at networking meetings or in one-to-ones. In presentations you might give at events. In content you post on social media, whether directly or in response to someone else’s post. In your own direct marketing content (you’re getting them on your mailing list, right?).
Through all of those avenues, focus on demonstrating your knowledge, experience and approach. Use examples in conversation of things you’ve done. Remember the key values and attributes that differentiate you from your competition and highlight them regularly. Be reliable and available and do what you say you’ll do.
That way you are giving potential referrers the best sense of the experience their clients will get that you can, and reassuring them that if they recommend you, their clients will have a good experience, which in turn will reflect well on them.
And, it goes without saying, when someone has recommended you, go out of your way to do a completely fabulous job, because it could result in multiple referrals going forward, and a real boost for your business.
If you’re interested in talking to us about becoming a partner with face2faceHR, with bags of support, do get in touch.