Most small business owners are not in business long before they fully realize the benefit of doing business through referrals. Customers coming from a referral are coming to you with a preset amount of trust before even experiencing your products or services. Many businesses have even adopted a ‘by referral only’ policy. However, this option is usually limited to those who have an abundance of business and would be bad policy for a small business to restrict their possible clientele in this manner.
How to Create a Company Worthy of Business by Referral:
First and foremost
You must stand out and above the competition. If your business mirrors one or more similar businesses in your area, you will find yourself fighting a losing battle trying to be the top-dog of the bunch. Most likely, for every ‘elite’ benefit you offer, your competitors will offer the same to their open customer base. This type of tooth and nail advertising war can actually have negative impact on the branding of your business.
You need to focus on building relationships with your customers. Serious business relationships. It is vital to know a bit more than usual about your consumers in this type of business. Plan to send out birthday and anniversary cards. Make sure you know their personal likes and dislikes when it comes to your products or services. Make notes on their account in your CRM so that all of your employees know the personal details that distinguish your business from others.
Keep in touch with your customers
You can do this through a series of marketing methods such as e-zines, newsletters, gifts and more. When you implement these systematically, you are in essence, creating a culture for your brand and your business. Once you have your system of release down, you will also be able to track your rewards versus results as well. Design your own referral culture.
Reward your customers
Whether you grant them a complimentary reward just for showing up, or provide them with random gifts or discounts for being a patron, you will want to be absolutely certain that they are rewarded and in a special or customized manner. Do not send out 30 free gifts to your customers. Send out 30 free gifts in 30 different colors that happen to match your consumer’s favorite shade. Include a note: I knew you would love this color! Let them know they are receiving special treatment, but only if they are.
Connect with referral partners
When you find a business that is willing to give you a referral, connect with them directly. Ask them what benefits you can offer them to continue to be a referrer. Perhaps their employees would be delighted with free memberships to your business.
When it boils down to it, you cannot run an effective business by referral if you do not have the time and capital to extend yourself into the areas that will require expensive kid gloves to be applied to the cultivation of your consumer base. Take the time to evaluate where your business is before making the serious decision to practice this type of referral marketing.
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.
Click here for more Referral Program Strategies to help you increase your profits.