In a recent blog post, we took an in-depth look at some of the differences between networking over the summer vs. networking during the rest of the year. Networking over the summer is a different animal, and we can say the same about generating referrals. Pushing through the summer lull to translate your excellent service into referrals for you and your business is one of the toughest challenges you’ll face over the calendar year. But, as is the case with networking, these unique challenges present unique opportunities. If you can manage to be at the top of your game and if you’re willing to put the hours in when others aren’t, you will be able to distance yourself from your competition and prove your worth to current and prospective clients. This week we’d like to share with you a few ways to up your referral count during the slow summer months.
First and foremost, take advantage of the opportunities offered by the season. One of the most effective ways to generate referrals, regardless of season, is to wow your clients/potential clients with small, thoughtful, personal gestures that let them know you’re willing to go the extra mile to retain (or obtain) their services and that you’re thinking of them. Over the summer, try surprising clients with a bouquet of freshly cut (and freshly grown) flowers, some produce from a farmer’s market, or a cold drink order from Starbucks.
You’re also going to need to be prepared to put in work. Summer just naturally has a different feel to it, and an aspect of that difference results in people being more laid back and relaxed and things moving at a slower pace. It can be tempting to use these things as an excuse to take it easy, but don’t; buck the trend. You shouldn’t be gearing down during the summer. If anything, you should be gearing up! That your competitors are taking it easy will make it that much more impressive when you’re seen taking initiative, putting in lots of hours and working hard.
Another way you can promote increased success over the summer is by doubling down on presentation. As a general rule, you should be allocating much more time to your deliverable than to its presentation- it’s better to work at actually providing a good service than to work at making a service look good- but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect presentation altogether, not by a long shot. Summer isn’t just slow for you, it’s slow for your clients as well, so go the extra mile to wow them with your service and ensure they spread the word about the great work you’re doing.
Last but not least, if you’re looking to generate referrals over the summer, try asking for them. If you aren’t asking for referrals, you need to work that much harder to earn them. Slower business in the summer provides all the more reason to be asking for referrals. This lull that we keep coming back to likely means a smaller pool of clients or number of interactions so politely and tactfully asking for referrals can work to your benefit over the summer.
There you have it, a good foundation for generating referrals this season - focus on these core practices and you’ll be in good shape. Keep checking back over the course of the summer for more tips and tricks for continued personal and professional success.