When we get a client referral we always know why it happened. We earned it. We exceeded our client’s expectations and provided exceptional customer service. We were consistent. We turned up. We cared. This combined to make us extremely referable.
When business owners consistently get too few client referrals, they usually can’t figure out why. From their perspective, they’re working hard, caring for their clients and delivering solid customer service. Often, they will blame someone (their clients) or something (their industry). This then places the problem outside their control and allows it to persist.
What if? thinking
When I solve this challenge for business owners, I start by doing some ‘what if?’ thinking with them. It looks a little like this.
- What if the range of services you provide isn’t ideally matched to your client’s needs… how could you improve it?
- What if your response time isn’t optimal… how could you improve it?
- What if your customer service isn’t perfect… how could you improve it?
- What if the level of care and attention you place in your work isn’t maximized… how could you improve it?
Using specific ‘what if?’ questions leads to more effective answers than the general examples above.
The idea behind ‘what if’ thinking is to allow us to imagine a scenario, where there is room for improvement.
It lets us put distance between the challenge (too few referrals), and our belief that we’re already doing everything we can. It opens our thinking up to new possibilities, which simply aren’t there if we blame external factors.
It seems most of the important challenges we face, in life as well as in business, need to be solved from the same starting point: Accepting we have a problem. And if we want to find the best answers, we need to acknowledge that we’re not already doing everything perfectly.
This is truly great news.
It means there’s always room for our business to improve, because there’s always room for us to improve.