We all know that referrals are an extremely effective way of gaining new business.
Isn’t it fantastic when someone rings up and says that you have been recommended by a friend, or by a customer or close business colleague!
You know that it’s highly likely they will do business with you because they already feel that they can trust you, and that you’ll deliver a great service or result. Many small and fledgling businesses rely heavily on this method to grow their business. So what can you do to proactively encourage qualified referrals?
Initially focus on the experience you’re giving your existing clients/customers
- Do you communicate with them regularly and often, whilst delivering amazing customer service?
- Don’t be one of those businesses that do a mediocre job by naively believing that if customers don’t complain, they must be happy. If you use any kind of referral marketing strategy but generate zero or very few new referrals, then you should take a serious look at how you are servicing your customers.
Many businesses we speak to are too busy, or more likely too frightened, to ask for referrals.
If being ‘too busy’ is your reason – then you’ll probably recognise that’s just an excuse, and you need to be honest with yourself and set some time aside each week to focus more on your marketing.
Assuming you deliver a great service or products to your customers, and you’re still too frightened to ask for referrals, then it’s probably the strategy you feel you have to use that you’re not comfortable with.
If your customers have received a good service from you, most would be very happy to refer your services to others. Your challenge is to make it easy for them to tell their friends about you.
- The first task is to make your clients aware that you’re looking for referrals.
- The second task is to get them to remember this when speaking with their friends and colleagues who could be potential customers of yours.
Provide a valuable benefit
The easiest and most successful way to achieve these two tasks is to provide a benefit not just to your existing customer, but also to their friend or business associate.
Offering a benefit to both parties, particularly the potential new customer, helps your existing customer to ‘remember’ your offer the next time they are talking to someone who could benefit.
I came across a simple (but very effective) example of this when my daughter started having driving lessons. The driving school operated a referral programme which was brilliantly simple and appealing:
If my daughter introduces a friend to the driving school, her friend would receive their first 10 lessons at a discounted price, and my daughter received a completely free lesson.
Considering the long term value of each new customer, this referral programme is very cost-effective.
My daughter has so far recommended 3 friends!
So, returning to most peoples’ reason for not asking for referrals – the fear or embarrassment of asking – if you had a proposal that benefited everyone like the one above, what would now stop you telling all your customers?
If you would like to create a solid referral programme for your business, but you’re not quite sure where to start, or how to come up with a really appealing offer for your customers and their contacts, then why not let us help you…
We’ll pull everything together you need, including the wording that can be used in your letters, emails, invoices or flyers to customers, or for use by your sales and customer service people.
For an informal discussion of the opportunities to seriously boost your lead generation from ongoing referrals, simply contact Sally firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01692 538800.
For more free advice and downloadable reports on all aspects of direct response marketing go to www.common-sense-marketing.com