Any small-business owner can attest that most of their business comes from, word of mouth referrals. Referrals are the recommendations from customers to others. Achieving these recommendations can be easy and automatic and to an extent profitable. The more you formalize the process of receiving these referrals, the quicker you’ll have increased sales. The top-notch way to getting referrals is to simply to ask for them, yet it can be hard because potential “referrers” lack the ability to read your mind, therefore having a process in place to ask for or obtain referrals can be helpful. The highest referral level is when an associate sends out an introduction letter for you, referring you to their sphere of influence, softening the path for your entry, much like a hot knife through butter. Essentially no one wants to appear desperate for new business, and moreover, it’s not your clients’ job to be your sales foot soldier. It’s important however to nurture your new, more lucrative business channel. Some of the easy things you can do to remind clients and others that you value their referrals are;
- Let clients know you’re open to referrals. Mention that you’d acknowledge a heads-up on anyone who might be interested in your services.
- Provide referrals to colleagues in other professions. Business can sometimes be about “scratch my back, I scratch yours”. If the colleague doesn’t reciprocate by referring his or her clients to you, you can always try a different colleague.
- Always use passive communication. It’s always polite when read without making the client feel pressured. E.g put a line on your business card or in your email signature that states, “The highest compliment/honor we can receive are your referral.”
- Make it part of your elevator pitch or statement. “Business is undergoing a boom-bust, but we’re always looking for more.”
- Quickly follow up on every referral. The person who referred you basically has put trust in you, always remember that.
- Always be thankful to the people who refer you. When a referral turns into a new client, it would be nice to send a small token of appreciation to the person who made the original referral. A sincere “thank you” also goes a long way.
- Ensure your website remains inviting, updated and informative. When somebody is referred to you, their next step is usually to visit your website. Therefore, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
- Ensure existing clients are able to see the value of your services. Seeing you as an instrument to their success they are more likely to refer you.
- Often participate in co-marketing events. Be it a speaking engagement, webinar, seminar, or simply a marketing campaign, team up with a colleague complementary to your business and market to both clients and prospect bases. This implies you will be casting your nets wider, but make sure both of you provide value to each others base.
Referrals will always be your least expensive and most effective ways to find new clients. With these tips, your referrals will increase promoting your business further.