Besides a satisfied current customer, the next easiest person to sell your products and services to is a referral. Referrals can be an inexpensive source of new revenue. They come to you pre-qualified and pre-sold, will typically spend more money, and will refer others to you since they were referred.
So how do you get them? The best and easiest way to get a referral is to ask for them when the client is most receptive. Most often this time is when they are “basking in the glory” of their purchase. That sounds simple. Yet many businesses don’t take advantage of this untapped “word of mouth” resource.
The way to do it right is to develop and implement a multi-step referral process.
The first step is to identify each opportunity you have to communicate with customers, vendors, friends and family, competitors, any associations or groups you belong to, etc. The next step is to develop a plan to reach out to these groups and ask for referrals. If you can establish and implement four or five processes to get referrals you could easily quadruple the number of referrals you are currently receiving. What would that do to your bottom line? Not to mention the time and money you would save prospecting and marketing for new clients.
Here are some different ways to get referrals—
- Offer an incentive for the referral. If you are in a business where this may be an unethical practice, you could offer free services to them or even donate money to their favorite organization.
- Offer your referral free or discounted services or products on behalf of the client who referred.
- Offer a special discount to your client only after they have given you a certain number of referrals.
- Get your clients to agree when they start working with you that if they are 100% completely satisfied with your product/service, they will refer two clients to you when the transaction is complete. Then make sure you follow through to get these!
- Come up with a list of companies and/or people who you would like to do business with and see who among your clients might know them and be able to refer you to them.
- Give your clients “discount” cards they can put their name on and pass onto their friends and family. When a card is redeemed, it entitles them to some type of incentive-a cash reward or discount on future purchases.
- In a business environment, send your client an attention getting thank you gift, such as a food basket or balloons. Others in the office will take notice and inquire, leading to referrals.
- Offer a incremental referral plan. The more the client refers, the more of a reward they will receive. People who refer once will typically refer again and again.
You are probably getting a good percentage of your business right now from “word of mouth”. With a formal on-going referral system you will not only get instant new clients and an increase in profits but an easy inexpensive way to get them.
Do you have a referral program in place now? If so and would like to share it, we would love to hear about it in the comments below.