As I speak more around the country I am seeing a series of questions rise to the top of the question pot..so to speak.  These questions seem to have a similar theme…they all revolve somehow around…How do I get started?

I thought it would be best to share with you in this weeks blog three ways to start getting more referrals:

  1.  Eliminate Foreseen Problems – Foreseen problems are those issues that you can see coming down the line.  The catch here is that many times you don’t know these exist until they happen. However, that’s where it requires you to take action.  When you see an issue, make adjustments to ensure that others don’t run into the same problem.

Recently I was staying at a Hotel in Wilmington Delaware. There was a parking garage below the hotel that was rather long in nature.  As usual, much of the parking near the entrance was taking, so I parked near the back. As it happens, there was an elevator closer to where I parked. I noticed a sign near the elevator that said “Maximum Occupants – 8 with Luggage”. A clear indication that they expected people with luggage to enter the elevator. I’ve got Luggage so I used the elevator!

This elevator only went up one floor and dropped be in the rear lobby of the hotel. A small entryway flanked by doors to the outside and doors to the inside. All the doors were locked.  It was about 7 pm and I noticed a sign that said “For Security, these doors are locked from 6pm-6am. There was no signage instructing me on how to get to the front desk from this area. I called the house desk phone from the courtesy phone on the wall and I was told I needed to go back down to the garage, walk through the garage and enter at the front. Which I did.  Once I got to the Front Desk I explained to the clerk that it would save time and frustration for guests, if there was signage on the elevators in the garage. It also would save calls to the front desk. She agreed.

After about 30 mins in my room, I needed to retrieve something from my car, so I went down to get the item, and I saw another party exiting those rear garage elevators, talking amongst themselves about how to get into the hotel.  I explained to them that it happened to me as well and where to enter the hotel.

If you see an issue like this in your business, fix it.  It’s less likely that I or the other party would choose this hotel again based on the confusion of just checking in. The first experience that someone has with your business needs to be a good one.

  1. Ask more probing questions to understand who your contact is

Following on the same experience above, if you are the clerk of the hotel when greeting the guest, ask a few questions, find out why the guest is in town, confirm how long they are staying, ask if they need any recommendations for food or tourist info.  Then listen to their answers. Understanding who people are is paramount to getting more referrals from them in the future.

  1. Finally, Follow Up.  Follow up on leads, Follow up on Sales, and Follow up on concerns.  This really aligns with a point I like to enforce wherever I speak or even when I work with clients one on one.  You need to be consistent and stay in touch. People are busy and they will forget to get back to you and let you know how things are.  

If you do these three things and you do them well, you will begin establishing a habit of creating more word of mouth referrals.  If you have any questions or want to get in touch with me for speaking or consulting about word of mouth referrals, feel free to contact me!

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