How Referrals Can Grow Your Business

Referrals are like gold. They are the best form of advertising for your business. Surprisingly, many entrepreneurs don’t pursue them showing how hugely undervalued they are. This should be made top priority along with other advertising strategies. Some examples include;

Referral Partners

If you are serving the same niche but not competing, there are lots of opportunities to grow your business. A great example is weddings as recounted to us by our friends at Limo Columbia. They work with DJs, photographers, caterers and others. When one of the group gets a wedding customer, they recommend the services of their referral partners. How many niches do you serve where you could find referral partners to help grow each others business?

Word of Mouth

A study by Nielsen shows that 84 percent of respondents trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family. If you are exemplary at your service, you have most definitely received a referral or two. If not, here is how to set the stage to receive those referrals. In every business interaction, ensure you maintain high levels of professionalism, follow up with your customers, and give great customer support. During your interactions, you can briefly state that referrals are an important part of your business.

After client satisfaction, mention that any referrals sent your way would be duly appreciated. You can explain in detail how you will handle contacting them to put the client at ease. This way, they feel more comfortable in sending associates your way. If a customer isn’t willing, you can try and probe them further. Ask if they have had negative experiences before. If so, assure them of your professionalism.

If they still decline, thank them and don’t pursue it any further. Make sure you have practiced enough on how to approach customers with this issue. A few customers may be willing to oblige so ensure you keep a positive attitude and remain relentless. If, however, you do get one, thank them profusely, whether or not you closed the sale. A gift card, or even a thank you note, will suffice.

Written

This is another method that can yield excellent results if used correctly. It is an endorsed mailing where a client writes an email or letter of recommendation and sends it to their contact list. This way, the recipients are more likely to be open to business with you as they trust the sender.

Testimonials are another written referral method where satisfied clients can post on your website page. They involve the client’s first and last name, and sometimes, a thumbnail photo.

Networking

This is a great way to meet new clients and spread word about your business; even better when dealing with business contacts who have an almost similar client base as you do. You can create strategic alliances and refer business to each other.

You can spice things up and provide incentives for referrals. Therefore, it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship. Referrals are an excellent yet inexpensive way to advertise and market your business. As with any marketing strategy, a referral program needs to be duly planned and executed strategically. This will see increased clients and revenue for your business, and stronger professional relationships.…

How to Compete with Large Companies

Competition is healthy for any business to grow. But most businesses shy away from the thought of competing with much bigger companies. They would rather compete with their fellow startups or other companies on the rise. What business owners don’t realize is that there are some advantages lost by big companies as they grow, that small and medium sized businesses have.

Customer Service

One great advantage to being an SMB is the ability to directly interact with customers as compared to the bureaucracy present in the bigger businesses. Cultivating customer relationships is valuable to a company as it can understand the customer needs better and meet or even exceed their expectations. SMBs are in a much better position to listen to the customers and deliver exactly what the customers want. You will see your business grow and expand through positive reviews and word of mouth marketing.

Niche Product/Service

Large companies have a wide array of products and services, therefore, numerous operations in different sectors. What this means is that they are juggling different products and giving them some attention. SMBs have the upper hand in this as they can opt to specialize in a specific niche and expand later when they grow.

Give all your undivided attention to one area and win at it. If you feel like you are in the market with well-established competitors, dig as deep as untapped sub categories, establish yourself, then start expanding. That way, you will have both the credibility and the audience to compete at a much higher level.

Flexibility

Unlike big companies, smaller companies can move faster or change direction promptly to suit a certain trend. It is much easier for a small business to tune itself to customer preferences, a trending topic, sudden waves or events. They respond promptly and will even run promotions and come up with new products to suit the season.

Large companies, on the other hand, take a bit more time to redirect operations. Their bureaucracy means they are slow. They often have to table several meetings, conduct studies, cast votes, etc. They profit better from upcoming events where they have ample time to prepare and promote the product or service.

Evaluate Competitors

Large companies have their shortcomings which you can come up with after a proper analysis. You can look at their customers, pricing, marketing strategies, competitive advantages and their strengths and weaknesses. It will help you identify areas in which you are slightly ahead or how you can use a different approach from theirs to scale. This is not to say that you should obsess over them. Create your own strategies and innovate whenever you can.

Choose your battles wisely to save your company on time, money and effort. You should never engage in fights you are bound to lose. An example is on pricing. Some big companies have the benefit of discounted prices which you may not be able to compete with. Instead, focus on other competitive advantages you might have other the big companies and capitalize on that.

Use Available Resources

Big companies are way ahead of you in terms of resources and equipment. They spend a fortune in advertising and marketing, unlike SMB. Thankfully, social media has risen rapidly as a tool to get information across to thousands of people at a low budget. Content marketing and social media platforms are an indispensable tool if used smartly.

Big companies sure have their numerous advantages such as a recognizable brand, they can outspend on advertising, a huge client base, etc. However, you shouldn’t be intimidated as an SMB because there are some upsides to it that you can focus on and outshine your big competitors.…

Grow Business with Current Customers

If you are in business, you are probably familiar with losing touch with customers you did business with months or even years ago. Businesses focus so much on new clients and leads and ignore the value of repeat customers altogether. Existing customers are a valuable asset that businesses don’t even realize they have. It might seem uncomfortable to re-engage previous customers, but it might do your business some good. Baltimore Limo (http://www.baltimorelimo.org/) uses these ideas to stay in touch with their business clients. It has created a steady base of business they can depend on. Here a few tips on how you can establish a lasting relationship with your clients;

A note through mail

They are probably overwhelmed by emails and phone calls on a day to day. A good traditional note through the mail would be an excellent way to capture their attention. You could include a great article that relates to their business, a newsletter or any other piece of valuable information.

Call them

This should be with a clear purpose in mind. Maybe you have a new product or service, some giveaways, etc. They are probably busy people, so you don’t want to waste their time with vague phone conversations. After the pleasantries, go straight to the point.

Stand out to your Clients

These days it’s not exactly hard to find people’s special events such as birthdays or anniversaries. If you spend enough time on Google or Facebook, this information will come easy. Set up reminders of these dates in your calendar or CRM and wish them a happy birthday. It is not standard practice, so this will get their attention. For the limousine business, these are perfect opportunities.

Ask them for referrals

Give your previous clients a call and ask them if they have anyone in mind who would be interested in your products or services. You will benefit from this by reconnecting with your previous clients and ultimately get new leads for your business.

Request for their feedback

Regular feedback from customers is a good way to gain insight into the client’s experience with your products or services. It also helps you know what to improve in areas where you might have fallen short of the client’s expectations. You can do this every few months through email, surveys, etc. This will also create a good perspective of your business in the clients’ eyes.…