Thanks for a speaking for the Chamber yesterday. I always enjoy hearing you talk and love your down-to-earth, real and practical style. What I found extremely valuable is how you facilitate the networking to occur as well as the business education. You truly do give everyone an opportunity to have exposure and share ideas. I will be actively recommending your workshops to my contacts.
10 Steps to Generating More Referrals
A customer referral program is one of the most powerful tactics in your marketing toolkit, yet many business owners leave the whole referral process to chance. Like anything we do in business, developing a referral program is a process, not an event. It will take time to iron it out and get it working effectively and to see the results. However it’s an almost free way to market your business. Follow these ten steps to generating more referrals for your business.
- First contact - Ask every new customer how they FIRST heard about you. Delve deep to find out who referred you. It could be that you don’t even know this person. Find out their contact details so you can thank them and add them to your data-base.
- Build a referral program - Develop a step by step process for seeking and acknowledging referrals. Set referral expectations early in writing, verbally and throughout the process of dealing with clients. Use a script to ask for a referral and practice it.
- Get active - Develop a list of active referrers. Review your database and make a list of family, friends and business associates that actively refer. The 80/20 rule applies here - 20% of your referrers will refer 80% of your new business.
- Set goals - Set a target list of calls to make to referrers, even if it is just 5 calls per week. Make time for it and allocate at least 15 minutes per call. Make sure you record conversation details and follow up notes on an effective data-base.
- It’s all about the conversation - Call your referrers and have an open and honest conversation with them. Ask how you can help them. Then tell them you would like more business and that you are calling to discuss if they can help. Tell them about your referral program.
- Thank them - Thank them for referring, by sending them a card or gift - a book, e-report, movie tickets, wine, picnic hamper - just do it consistently!
- Scratch their back too - Give your referrer a referral. This is the most powerful thing you can do in the whole referral process.
- Keep the relationship alive - Keep in touch via email, calls, invites, e-newsletters, cards and by sending them quality content and informative links to your website.
- Alliances - Look for alliance relationship opportunities. Start by focusing on the business owners that offer a complementary service to you and who also have the same target market. Look for a win/win opportunity to cross-refer.
- Get formal - If appropriate, formalise the referral arrangement. You could make your referrers into a sales force by putting an agreement in place and incentivising them financially.
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