Referral business used to be considered an automatic. Before print advertising, before radio or television advertising, entrepreneurs relied on word-of-mouth marketing. A positive word passed from one customer to another was as valuable as gold. As your reputation grew, so your business grew. The introduction of mass marketing changed the business landscape.
Now customers could learn of your business in the newspaper, or on the radio, and many entrepreneurs began to feel that word-of-mouth marketing no longer had any place in their marketing strategy.
Most entrepreneurs too often overlook the value of referral business. It is a fact that customers referred by friends are generally more loyal and hold a more positive opinion of your business than customers who come to you from other types of advertising. This is because customers are more likely to trust information that comes from a friend or personal acquaintance than information which comes from an impersonal source, like a radio advertisement. Building trust in your customers is one of the most important steps to creating repeat customers – that solid customer base that will help your business thrive no matter what the economic climate. So, how do you start getting more referrals?
Here are the 6 surefire steps to getting more referrals:
- Make attracting referrals a priority
Look at your day and how you are making time for your referral marketing. To make room in your schedule for attracting more referrals, start pressing the pause button on all of the ‘leaks’ in your day.
- Create a referral mindset
Start looking at yourself as providing an amazing service and value to prospects and clients. You are able to solve your client’s big problems they can’t. Embrace a generous attitude and be a resource for your clients, and others you know, by giving them referrals. Basically, give referrals to others as you would like to have others give to you.
- Know what type of referral you are asking for
Know your unique position by looking at what your special gifts and talents are. What makes your services and products unique and the transformation you deliver to others. Then you want to know who your ideal client is. It’s from this place you know what type of referral to ask for.
- To receive you need to ask
Most entrepreneurs forget this one and it’s such an easy way of asking. You want to create a warm, informal but simple letter educating your friends, clients, associates and even vendors, so they know what you are up to. Give them information by announcing your business or something new happening in your business, what you offer, who you work with and the invitation to have them refer you. Remember people love seeing you succeed and wanting to help by giving referrals.
- Systematize your action
No matter if you are at networking meetings, engaging with a client or on the phone with an associate, you’ll want to put what you do into a system. By sending out a letter or a thank you, you’ll want to create a follow- up letter system when something new happens in your business. I have a regular system that I send out to people I know (even my vendors) to keep them in the loop of new services or products I’ve added to my business. Every time a letter goes out, at least one referral comes in. I’ve found this system simple and easy to implement and to free up time my assistant takes care of all the mailing.
- Be a go-giver
Be willing to give generously. The day my referral business turned around was the day I started giving referrals.
By John Hester