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;
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.
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.
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.