8 Tips to Increase Customer Referrals
Referrals happen occasionally on their own, but not at the pace you’d like if you want to grow your business in a significant way. You have to create a system and strategy to attract and process them. And, the quicker you develop both, the faster you’ll receive more business by the best referral method in the world – word of mouth sales.
Want to generate a steady stream of referrals for your business? Consider these 8 recommended tips to boost interest and sales.
Know when to ask
One of the best ways to get referrals is to simply ask for them. The best referrals come after your clients have worked with you and discovered your value. Consider pairing referral requests with positive client outcomes. In recent studies, 83% of consumers are comfortable making a referral after they’ve seen results. So, go ahead and exceed expectations!
Have you just aced a social media campaign with measurable results? Now’s the perfect time to ask for a referral. Are your clients well-intentioned but too busy to write? Make it easy for them and offer to pen a short blurb that they can approve. People tend to give referrals if they like you, believe you’ve done a good job and gave them the best service possible.
Are you setting aside time on a weekly basis to ask for referrals? If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Build your online presence by networking with key influencers, customers, and colleagues. Browse LinkedIn and ask your connections for introductions of people you’d like to meet. You’ll be surprised at the number of referrals that come your way. You might also want to take a look at your client’s social media pages and see who they’re connected to. Don’t be afraid to reach out if someone piques your interest.
Are you a giver or a taker? Show clients you’re willing to give them referrals and chances are they’ll be motivated to return the favor. Send a note with a gift card as soon as you ask and thank them in advance. Practice good karma and pay it forward without expectation. Become a connector by thinking of others and not always yourself. Most importantly, be real, sincere and thankful. Everyone can spot a phony!
Promote your Program
Define your referral program, then promote it! What kind of incentive referral program works for your business? Is it a gift card program? Are customers rewarded with cash, discounts or points for a bigger prize? If your program is a secret, how can your customers take advantage of it? Once your referral program is in place, create a buzz and start talking about it on social media. Include content in your newsletter and a link in the email signature. Remember that online and offline promotion is key ingredients to any marketing initiative.
Share your expertise
You’re the expert, right? Publish weekly articles on LinkedIn sharing your industry knowledge. You’ll not only build visibility, but you’ll also grow a base of raving fans who want to know who you are and what you do. When you write about your expert topic on a consistent basis, your target audience might make a referral based on what they learned.
Think about speaking too. Seek out groups who want to learn from you. They might even be local networking groups or regional associations you already belong to. You’ll be surprised at how many attendees will approach you after your session and ask for a card. It’s almost like a self-referral! In fact, it gets even better when you share (and promote) your speaking engagements and articles on your own social platforms.
Make it a point to remind your referral sources how much you value them. Don’t wait until the holidays to send a note or token of appreciation. Let them know you’re thinking about them throughout the year. Invite them to dinner, send tickets to a concert or a VIP night on the town.
Stay in touch with your colleagues and customers so you’re always top of mind. Let them know what’s happening in your business with a weekly or bi-monthly newsletter. Post frequently on LinkedIn or Facebook. Write and share articles. Or sometimes, just call to say hello. When you’re in contact with your target market on a regular basis and they see you’re constantly up-leveling your business, that may trigger a referral.
Here’s an interesting note too. Did you know that a referred customer is 18% more loyal than a customer acquired through a different method? That means you’ve already been verified through the like, know and trust process – which saves you time, energy and resources. By all means, make referred customers feel important!
Start planning for more business now by increasing customer referrals. Build a base of raving fans who can’t wait to share how great you are. Chances are they could be in front of you or at least in your inbox. Ask and you will receive. Really.
About the Author
Rachel Leone is president of Leone Marketing Solutions a trade show and event marketing firm specializing in promotional products. For over two decades she has helped startups, small businesses, and Fortune 500 brands stand out in the crowd with promotional products, premiums, and gifts that create awareness and attract attention. For more information or a complimentary brainstorming session contact her at 781.740.3171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.