At some point, you’ll need a referral from a supervisor or a co-worker. Referrals are an incredible way to grow your career or get offered opportunities before they become public. With a referral, you can leverage someone’s credibility, friendship and trust.
Sales people know the power of this technique, which is why most ask their customers for names of others who might also have a need for a similar product or service. The customer has already bought “you” based on the word of another. Here are 5 tips you can borrow from seasoned sales professionals:
1. Be confident to have confident outcomes. Give yourself a pep-talk, recognize your worth and visualize a successful outcome.
2. Give good service. It pays to always deliver exceptional service. It makes you memorable which makes asking easier. Zappos.com originally sold only shoes and handbags, and prides itself on customer service. As a Zappos shopper who continues to be impressed with all the little extras that come your way as a customer, I’m constantly referring others.
3. Stay in touch. No one likes to hear from someone only when they need something, so be sure to nurture your network. Send them articles of interest. Ever asked them for advice? Take the time to drop them an e-mail or a phone call to let them know the outcome.
4. Have a consistent system and ask everyone. What does this mean to you? If someone stops you in the hallway and tells you what an incredible job you did coordinating Administrative Professional Day, take advantage of this situation and say, “It’s comments like that which help me grow my career. Would you be willing to send that to me in an e-mail?” Print it out and put it in your file for review time. Do this every time a similar situation arises and you’ll be on your way.
5. Plant a seed. Example: In a conversation with your supervisor, say, “If our organization ever decides to add a feature writer to the company newsletter, I’d be most interested” or “If you ever hear of an opportunity to help plan a companywide event, I’d like to toss my hat in the ring.”
Don’t keep everything a secret. Start asking for referrals.