How likely is this scenario with your current and past clients?
If you’re not sure then the answer is not likely.
Learn how to unleash your happy clients for a bigger bottom line!
This post is part of the fun (and profit) filled Word Carnival. Be entertained while getting great small business insights. This month the topic is “The Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs of Biz Referrals”.
Getting Client Referrals Tip #1: Ask For Them!
Alternate Title: Hello Captain Obvious!
When is the last time you pro-actively discussed referrals with your clients? I’ll be the first to admit I forget to do this. I’m so focused on understanding their needs, delivering on my commitments, and making sure they’re 100% satisfied it’s easy to forget to ask for testimonials and discuss referrals.
Make a point in your next client call or contact to mention that you have openings for new clients. Remind your current customer of the original reason they sought you out. Then move on.
While your satisfied clients can do wonders in spreading the word that is not their role or responsibility. They are the client, and their needs are the focus and priority.
Getting Client Referrals Tip #2: Make It Easy
Alternate Title: Everyone’s busy with their own business.
Your clients may be raving fans. They may be convinced you are the best invention since cappuccino (way better than sliced bread). They are also very busy.
When asked about referrals do not say, “Oh just send them to my site” or “You have all my contact info.” What you’re really saying is “I’m too lazy to work for my referrals. I’m so great you should be happy to throw lots of business my way even if it means more work for you.”
Do you want to sound that way to your clients? Do you think that is the best way to get them to help you?
Here are just a few ways you can make it easy for your customers to offer referrals:
- Give your clients extra business cards that they can share
- Remind recipients of your newsletter that they can forward it to others
- Create a special landing page for referrals (bonus points for customized pages)
- When asked, focus on one method for customers to submit referrals
- Ask your clients if they have a preferred way to share referrals.
Getting Client Referrals Tip #3: Offer Incentives
Alternate Title: Money Talks
Everyone is busy. If they’re promoting you, even for a few minutes, that means they are not promoting themselves.
Give people a reason to help out. It doesn’t need to be big. It doesn’t even need to be money, or to be based on sales. I’ve seen people offer rewards for legitimate leads. Even if none of them pan out, you still receive an incentive such as an Amazon gift card.
I blush to admit this is an area I could really improve upon with my execution. Right here with this blog I’m going to create some public accountability. In 30 days I’ll be back to discuss how I’ve incorporated all my tips into my routine and processes.
What about you? Have additional ideas to share? Consider joining in my 30 day accountability plan. What will you do in the next 30 days to improve referrals?
I think we can ALL agree that where referrals are concerned, most of us don’t take a very proactive or systemized approach. *sheepishly raises hand*
I love your action items and am off to implement the reminder to forward my newsletter one (today is newsletter day!). Can’t wait to read up on what you do and how it goes.
It is always a good idea to engage your best clients and give them an incentive to bring you even more business.
“Just ask” always sounds so simple, so obvious, so why-don’t-I-do-it-then ?! We forget, Nicole. We simply forget to do the simplest things. Duh …
Offering incentives sounds grand but I keep seeing a red flag waving in front of my eyes. My concern would be that folks would send referrals my way “just because” of the incentive but not, necessarily, people who I’d want to work with or those who aren’t a good fit. Know what I mean? Everyone loves perks and prizes, right? Maybe I’m overly cautious. But I’d hate to be sent a pile of duds.
I’m with Tea …
Can’t wait to see how you incorporate all your tips into your routine! 🙂
So need to be proactive…especially at a time that I need more business. I do believe we have to consistently remind people to refer to us by delivering top of the line service consistently and following up…Got that from Sharon. I use to be really good at it and I am realizing that I lost that so system design coming forth…I love the idea of sharing results of taking our own advice in 30 days…hmmm that could be a carnie topic…What advice did we act upon from one of the previous carnivals? hmmmm
I follow the “extra business cards” rule. Not sure how that has panned out but it’s low hanging fruit, right?? And how’s “ask” for the obvious yet always-missed option? Also “tell” might belong as a corollary because I find that people don’t always know what we do, or the scope of what we do, especially if we’ve only worked with them on one small piece of a thing. it pays to educate then definitely ask!
Great tips, Nicole. Thanks for the reminder about business cards. I used to always have some with me and they work really well for reminding people who you are. A tip I saw elsewhere (maybe in a previous Carnival post) is to add your elevator pitch to the card so it stands out from the rest.
So much truth in this post. Especially the cappuccino thing…I’ll slice my own bread, thank you.
Point #2 is a big one though…because it goes for not only referrals but pretty much anything. Don’t make it too difficult for people to buy, for example :).
Great ideas for referrals Nicole. What Mel’s comment made me think was that if we were working for our ideal client, they ought to connect us in the same way we connect them do you think? I love the idea of being held accountable and reporting back after 30 days our efforts at asking for referrals. See you on October 1!
Along with #2 – people have to know what the heck it is you do. If your 3rd party elevator pitch isn’t solid, it’s really hard for folks to know how to refer you.
I had this problem for the first 3 years of my business; I had my hands in so many different things that it was difficult to know what I was actually doing or how to describe it. Around my 3.5 year mark, I decided to consolidate my offerings into one centralized portal (WTF Marketing) which caused a lot of strife in the individual communities but cleaned up my referral pathway like you wouldn’t believe.
I’m done being a polymath in my marketing; I have a specific focus I’m known for, it doesn’t mean I can’t deviate once I’m in.
I just recently started asking for referrals in my proposals. I explain that it is part of my compensation. I also explain that it makes me have to offer superior service to earn the referrals.
I also explain, with referrals, I can spend more time on my clients and not have to spend as much time (if any) on lead generation.
It is something I just implemented so I cannot comment on how it’s working yet, but hope to have results soon 🙂
That’s what I do too. I ask referrals from happy clients. As long as they are satisfied, getting referrals is never a problem.
Agree 100% Shaun. Thanks for stopping by.