Getting referrals from clients may not be as hard as you think. It only requires a bit of healthy focus on a few vital elements of your business to consumer relationships. For many business owners and marketers, just the act of asking for a referral may be the most difficult part.
Tips for Getting Referrals from Clients
- Keep some of these tips in mind when creating your referral-marketing program and the repeated practice of them should eventually make you an expert on how to gather those critical referrals.
- One good practice to always remember is to leave bill-paying time for bill paying. Do not take this moment, when sticker shock is a distinct possibility for some, to ask for referrals.
- When at all possible, try to get referrals from clients in face-to-face meetings only. Obviously if you have only an online business this is not possible, but if you do have a physical location, try to make sure you wait for a real-time visit before asking current clients for new referrals.
- Try to set a target number for pulling in referrals each month. This will give you and your employees something to aim for and can even be a touching point for rewarding your staff for bringing them in to meet those projected goals.
- Always give incentives for referrals. Whether you want to offer a discount or a gift card for each referral is up to you, but always reward. When possible, provide progressive rewards for clients who can refer more than one or two prospective new consumers. No one wants to walk a mile for a dollar. Make sure the rewards are appropriate for the clients work in bringing the referral in. If for any reason your clients cannot accept direct gifts, offer to make a donation in their name to their favorite charity. Often, this can be the case when businesses are referring businesses.
- Prove yourself to your current clients or customers before asking them for more referrals. While some marketers suggest that the time to ask for referrals is the next moment after a consumer becomes a personal customer, there are many reasons why this may not be the best idea. It is a forward notion. Assuming that your business is ‘referable’ after just one meeting or product or services exchange, may be seen as desperate by current customers. It could also cost you current clients who find the idea distasteful. Get to know your customers first. Let them get to know you too so that when they do speak for your company, they have plenty of history to base their statements on.
- Keep referrers in-tune with how their referral is working out. Devising a system to organize this element may be the most difficult task. However, once you do have a great method or database to keep up, many consumers will be delighted to hear how those they have referred have worked out.
- No obligations. Make sure all referrers understand the details about getting referrals from clients. Understanding that referring a customer to your business will hold them under no obligations may encourage them to provide you with more than they previously planned to.
- Keep in mind when discussing client referrals that you are not begging them to help you. You are asking them to help others be successful, get better deals on products, or use services that could boost their own businesses. If you remember this vital element of referral marketing, it can help eliminate some of the shyness that comes with asking for the referrals in the first place.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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