Give Before You Receive
Obtaining referrals will always be easier if you have already given something prior to asking for them. It’s the golden rule of givers get. If you have already helped your customer to get something they want, then they will have no problems in returning the favour.
Some businesses will ask for referrals before they’ve even delivered services to the customer and given them time to evaluate the quality of those services. This, many times, proves to be premature and ineffective in gaining referrals.
Reciprocity occurs when both sides actively help each other. So, look for ways to deliver outstanding value and deliver solutions to your customer’s most pressing issues. You will eventually build up a healthy “emotional bank account” with your customer.
Treat Your Customers Like Royalty
It goes without saying that your main aim in business is to seek out your ideal clients and over deliver, retain them and keep doing business for the long-term. For this to occur your relationship with the client must be built on mutual respect and ongoing communication.
In your mind’s eye you should see all of your clients as members of a very special group. You have built your business to address their burning issues and convert them to raving fans. If you think this way and act this way, your clients will feel special and happy to recommend you to all who will listen.
Make It Easy For Your Customer To Give The Referral
To ensure that you get as many referrals as possible, make it easy for your customer to provide one to you. You can achieve this by having a process or script developed that stimulates your customer to think about your ideal client referral.
Your script could run along the lines of:
“John, I really enjoy working with you.
I think it’s great how you [communicated all the way through the project…]. I know that really made a difference in your [successful implementation].
You know, I have several available [spots, sessions, program seats, days] that I would like to fill with customers just like you. Do you know of any friends, colleagues, business owners who are having similar issues that you have resolved and could benefit from working with me? An introduction would be appreciated.”
To increase the odds of you obtaining referrals, always follow-up. We are all busy and perhaps your request for a referral from your customer has slipped, over time, to a low priority on the list of things to do.
A brief email, or even better, a personal phone call will suffice in reminding the customer of the promised referral. Follow-up a couple of times, but don’t harass them. Do not expect referrals to be produced immediately. Sometimes it takes a few prompts to receive the referral.
Your customer has shown great trust in you to provide a referral, so thank them. It may also be appropriate to send them a small gift or card to show your appreciation. Keep the customer in the loop about how the referral is progressing.
They will be delighted to hear their referral has led to business for you. Your customer will also like to know the person they referred you to is happy with your services. After all, their reputation is also on the line here!
Getting a referral puts you in the box seat to winning business through customer recommendations. With this approach your marketing costs are low and some of the usual barriers have been removed.
Do you have a referral program in place?