Unsuccessful hiring is arguably the biggest problem in business today, and getting the upper hand in the war on talent is increasingly challenging. As part of the blog series, Hire Wisdom: The 12 Keys to Successful Hiring, I will dissect Key #2: Generate Referrals.
Many of the most successful businesses are built on word-of-mouth, with the most effective referrals coming from trusted and well-informed sources. Referrals are the most efficient way to hire, as the person doing the referral has already explained to both sides what the other does and determined a good fit.
The biggest motivation to refer someone is to look good. People want to be seen as professional networkers who are “in the know”. The problem is, most people are not exercising this muscle by networking and requesting referrals effectively. Are you doing what it takes to proactively generate quality referrals? Here are 5 steps to help you generate more quality referrals as a job seeker or talent seeker.
1. Be Referable
Be Exceptional & Referable
Concentrate on creating a business that uniquely, reliably delivers results that people need and want. Deliver what you promise, when you promise it, with integrity. Give them an experience worth speaking about.
Network to Build Great Relationships & Rapport
You have to have the trusting relationship above all.
Be an Approachable Expert
Stay on top of industry trends and spend just as much effort talking with people, learning about others and the industry trends.
Share that the large percentage of your business comes from repeat customers (provided it’s true) to inspire confidence to generate more referrals.
2. Make it Easy
Include “Referrals Appreciated” And “Please ‘Share’ & ‘Like’” in Your Marketing Materials
People need reminding. Add icons and links that make it easy to share your contact information and add a link to a form on your website for referral submissions.
Make Sure Everyone Knows About The Services Your Company Offers
Too often people assume others know more about them than they do.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Include the link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature to make it easy for referral sources to share.
Paint a Picture, so People Know More Specifically What a Great Referral Looks Like
Most people need more information to understand how easy passing a few quality referrals can be.
3. Focus on Relationships
Focus on Relationships With Your Best Referral Sources
The 80/20 rule will apply here, where 80% of your best referrals will come from 20% of your contacts. Focus on the relationships with the 20%. Your current client base, friends and family are usually part of this group. Spend time with them, sharing meals and life together.
Ask People Warm Questions About Themselves
People are thankful that you cared to ask.
Recognize & Thank Your Referral Sources
This could be with a simple phone call, email, handwritten note or even better, a free lunch to inspire them to do more of the same. You can also acknowledge the referral source publicly if they are interested in that.
Ask for Referrals With Context
For example, “Since you were a member of that association, did you attend their meetings regularly? Is there anyone in that association that you believe could benefit from my services? Maybe one or two people you’ve known for a while or sit next to regularly? Who was the best person that you worked with on that project? Why?”
4. Return the Favour
Proactively Refer People to Other Businesses That Have a Clientele Similar to Yours
As with most things in life, you have to give to get.
Provide Valuable Content Your Referral Sources Can Share With Their Network
Send out an invitation to a breakfast, lunch, webinar, research briefs, or send an article about a regulatory change or industry trend.
Create a Referral Bonus Program
Just be very weary of potential conflicts if money gets involved.
5. Be Confident
Change Your Attitude
Many have a fear of asking in case they don’t deem themselves referable or they do not want to appear rude, as if they are begging or “salesy”. This fear of asking is rooted in your attitude. If your attitude is one that believes you are asking too much of that person, then you will always be battling with fear. If you truly believe that asking for referrals is beneficial for everyone involved, your fear will disappear.
Don’t wait for the pipeline to dry up, put a referral system into place immediately, be deliberate, and don’t stop asking. Using these steps to generate more quality referrals will make sure your pipeline of referrals is strong and your business will reap the benefits of Hire Wisdom.
For more tips about gaining the most from your headhunter, check out our other Headhunter Insights blog posts. Also check out Toronto Financial Services & Insurance Recruiter Ross Campbell’s other blog posts and connect with him on LinkedIn.
IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver, We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.