Referrals are the most lucrative form of marketing. Simply because the cost to acquire someone is zero.
You also probably like them because it’s easy to ask, you’ve got a relationship with the referrer and it’s a sale beyond the last sale with a previous client, friend, or network associate.
But when’s the best time to ask?
Because at the start of engagement the trust just simply isn’t there. And leaving it until the end doesn’t give us much time to get the client thinking of all the value we’ve brought to the project and who might need it.
There’s a theory called the smile curve, where the trust you’ve sewn before the sale will get traded in to add something risky to the project. This comes in many forms, a cost, physical or emotional labour that perhaps wasn’t there.
I like to ask when I’m at the end or directly on the up on the of the smile curve or about 2/3 of the way through a project.
Outside of Projects
You should be asking for referrals as much as possible without cashing in trust. Having a spreadsheet of top 150 referrals is ideal. You can separate the follow-up routine to 3 months, 6 months and the worst is 1 year.