By Michele Swetesich-Leon

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do.  Like asking for referrals.  Is this a challenge for you?  It has been for me and I know others too.  That’s why I decided to write about it.

Basically there are three (3) types of referrals…traditional, testimonials, online reviews and recommendations.  Here’s an overview of each.

1.  TRADITIONAL

This is where someone with a problem reaches out to their network (people they personally know) and asks “who do you know that can help with _______?”.  Whatever the problem, they are seeking a solution.  Now- a-days this happens in person and online.  It’s the most personal type of referral.

2.  TESTIMONIALSEveryonLovesReferrals

Yes, testimonials are a form of referral.  These types of referrals tend to be less personal than the common traditional referral.  They are the result of you (the business) solving a problem that this person had.  They are so pleased with what you did for them that even though no one is asking them “who do you know…” they are throwing this out there to whoever is interested.

Testimonials are used strategically to promote your business.  They should be included on your website, in your email and print marketing and any other promotional medium that makes sense.

3.  ONLINE REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Of the three referral types these are the least personal.  Yet, when potential customers search online for a business to solve their problem a positive review or recommendation, even from a stranger,  may sway them to contact you.  Online networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook as well as review sites such as Yelp or Google+ Local allow your customers an easy way to review and recommend you to the world.

So, if you’re looking for ways to expose your business to potential new clients you must ask for the referral.  I’ll be going over how to do that starting in next weeks’ blog.  So check back next Wednesday afternoon for part two of “Ask and You Shall Receive”.