Do you enjoy getting referrals? Okay, that was simple—of course, you do!
When a friend refers someone, he or she likes and trusts, those feelings subconsciously transfers to you. This sense of ease and comfort is what makes warm lead referrals easier to close. While everyone would like to receive referrals, it is surprising that very few businesses put together an active referral system.
They are mostly unaware of the great possibilities referrals hold to generate more leads and sales. Many business owners expect their clients to spread the word. Assuming that they will have had a great experience and just tell their friends. Well, it does not work that way. People are busy and operating on information overload. You cannot just wait and hope that your satisfied clients are going to automatically and enthusiastically refer you. Most especially to their closest friends and family. Never assume that they always have you in mind.
It amazes us to hear that many of our clients expect explosive growth by doing what they have always done. Moreover, they just kept waiting for their existing customers to refer more people to them. Referrals are great, but unless you create an active referral program, you do not control the process. By taking control of the marketing process and developing a relationship with your list, however, your business and referrals will grow. Creating an active referral system is easy, simple, and powerful.
There are several key components to consider when creating an effective referral campaign.
Create a WOW experience for your customer!
Customers do not generate referrals from average or good experiences. They recommend when they feel “WOW-ed”! Are you creating the WOW Factor in your business today? What can you do to build slight shifts in your customer experience to achieve this WOW factor?
Ask! You would be astonished how few companies ask for referrals.
They just assume that they will get it because they created a WOW experience. You must ask for referrals in your closing process. When the customer has decided to make a purchase, request for referrals. The best time to do it is before customers step out the store, hangs up the phone, or clicks off your website. For example, if you are a photographer and your client is in your studio, ask them if they know of anyone else who would like the same experience they have just had. If they do, then ask for permission to contact that person using your customer’s name as a referral.
We helped one of our clients who is a photographer to create an active referral program. We helped him to develop an “ambassador card” to use for this particular referral program. On this card was a photo from his client’s portrait session, as well as his contact information. When his client would refer a friend, they would both receive a gift. We also helped him to do this on Facebook, making the sharing and dynamic referral experience viral.
Plan! You must take a proactive stance and incorporate requests for referrals as part of your marketing plan.
You can do this through direct mail, electronic mail (eMail), and newsletters. Remind people of their WOW experience.Moreover, let them know how grateful you will be for the opportunity to help their friends. You can also even let them recognize that you build a significant part of your business through referrals. Like all marketing, you must keep TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) with your customers if they are going to refer you when they come across a friend who may be in need of your products or services.
In earlier blog posts, we discussed the significance of creating your list. However, just having a list is not enough. You must build a relationship with your current and potential customers and clients. There are many ways that you can start to build relationships. You can create a newsletter that you send via eMail, or you can use the once-thought-extinct method of using the United States Postal Service. Send them communication, information and special offers via mail. If you are going to choose this route, though, it has to be very consistent.
Let’s say that you are now collecting your clients and prospective clients’ information. While this is great, converting your list into an actual business, and fostering lifelong customers or clients who will fill your marketing funnel with plenty of referrals, is an entirely different subject.
Always remember that the best way to convert people and businesses into customers does not involve aggressively sending them offers in the mail, newsletters, or eMail. To create raving fans and lifetime relationships, you must consistently set up and provide value long after the first sale. When you educate your current and prospective clients and continue to provide value, you can then place your offers without alienating yourself to the dreaded spam folder.
Another great way to get more referrals is by using the “Friends and Family Sale”. This tactic is one of many that the retail industry has benefited from for many years. However, businesses outside of the retail industry rarely use this tactic. Think about it. How much will your business stand out once you find ways to make this tactic part of your marketing and advertising strategy? Chances are, your current customers know other people who are similar to them. Moreover, these same people could use your product or service, right? Of course, they do!
Make promotions fun! Offer a “friends sale” where the more friends someone brings with them, the larger the discount.
For instance, provide a 10 percent discount if they bring one person. Then, 15 percent discount if they bring two persons. And lastly, a 20 percent discount if they bring three people with them. The people they bring with them become their walking coupon and potential new customers! The more friends, the merrier! Here is the key to success with this program — each customer’s friends must fill out a simple little form with their contact information.
You can make it even more fun by creating a drawing that they enter with this information to win prizes. When you are offering prizes, the friends are less resistant to going in the first place, and they will feel less hesitant to fill out a form with their information. Why do we do this? A couple of reasons. You will have more people visiting your location and seeing what you offer, and you get to build your list of prospective clients.
Create your marketing and letter campaign strategy! When and how frequently will you send your newsletters, ads, or other materials? You want to plan this out in advance. You want effective marketing; not just cutesy stuff meant to “build your brand.” Building a brand does not pay the mortgage, conversions from effective marketing do. Your clients’ time is precious, so make sure that each newsletter, ad, or sales letter you create provides an impact and adds value. When it does, your time will be well invested as your tactical efforts tie-in to your long-term strategy.
Again, your ultimate goal is TOMA (Top Of Mind Awareness). You want to provide your prospective and current clients and customers with tremendous value. They will appreciate you for educating them, and they will think of you when they are ready to make their purchase or when they are talking with their friends and family who have a problem you can solve. However, this will not just happen without a targeted and meaningful campaign!
By the way, if you are ready to monetize your business more effectively and accelerate your business results, let’s connect. I know we can help.