Here we go - you spot your name card at the corner of a long table in a candlelit restaurant. The waiting staff partitioned off a generous section for you and other business leaders in Iowa. Appletini in tow, you sit nestled into your chair and anxiously await the tone of the bell. Ding! You are officially a participant of referral speed dating. Each referral tip has 3 sentences or less to tell you why they deserve your undivided attention.
'I think I can, I think I can' referral mindset
The key to referral business is setting the tone for your business, and your clients, that referrals are important. Understand the your best clients want to refer you, but that recommendations don’t always happen without a little push. Using language that conveys the significance of referrals for your agency- subtly, yet consistently, will ensure that you’re referred when the time is right.
Change how you ask where people heard about you
Like the roast beef at a cheap buffet, “Where did you hear about us” is overdone. Instead, ask your new customers (or prospects) “Who was it that referred you to us?” This question is much more explicit and yields more precise information for you to act on - while also setting the tone for future referrals.
Make it about them
Too often businesses communicate the topic of referrals with their clients in a selfish way. By saying “we would really appreciate if you referred your friends to us” you are basically asking for them to make a sale for you. Saying “we really want to help your friends and family” targets the reasons they refer their loved ones.
Refer other businesses
Tit for tat, reciprocity - it does wonders. If a prospect is not right for you, or you know businesses in adjacent industries, refer people to them. Set the precedent and they will almost always return the favor when the time is right.
Make it easy
When a client is feeling saucy and wants to refer your business it shouldn’t be difficult to do. To be most effective make sure your contact information is readily available. Send introductory emails, be easy to find online, and keep your social media pages up-to-date.
Improve your website
If you still have it, remove that counter at the bottom of your webpage. Even after a referral happens the vast majority of prospects will check you out online. Get a modern, easy to navigate, and solid website to convert referrals into sales.
Written validation dramatically improves your likelihood to capture referral business. Actively gathering testimonials makes your clients comfortable with referring you. They also serve as social proof for prospects.
Reach out to your clients regularly with newsletters, loyalty cards, etc. Don’t reserve communication for when payment is due or your services are rendered. Keep an ongoing relationship to stay top of mind and to show your continued commitment.
By golly, give your clients something to talk about! If you share interesting stories with them they will be more compelled to discuss you with others. Sneak into as many conversations as possible by being fun and thought-provoking.
What do you say?
Thank you! Yeah, that’s right, let your clients know that you appreciate them recommending you to their loved ones. They are more likely to do it again, and they will appreciate the recognition.
Track your progress
A referral strategy is not a one and done kinda thing. Stay consistent with your strategy and stick with it! Track your results and adjust your strategy if needed.
So whaddya think? So many compelling referral tips to choose from. Start with one and go from there - they aren’t the jealous type!