Businesses know that referrals are the best kind of advertising. Are you more likely to go to a restaurant recommended by a friend or in a third-party advertisement? Exactly. If you’re looking to get your company more business referrals, check out these 5 tips on how to get referrals:
1. Show current clients you appreciate them.
When customers and clients feel like a business is only after their pocketbooks, they may not take the time or effort to refer that company, or even come back for repeated business; however, when companies take the time to give gifts, discounts, or simple thank-you’s, customers feel valued and connected to the company. A feeling that increases the odds that they will return for more business.
Here are a few ideas of how to show your customers and clients you appreciate them:
- Give away inexpensive thank-you gifts with each purchase. This gift could be anything from a simple card, a small token to remember the business, or a discount coupon for the next visit.
- Recognize milestones for ongoing client relationships. Treat client milestones like little birthdays. If a client has used your services for six months, a year, five years, recognize them in a company newsletter, through social media, or in a website spotlight to thank them for their business or highlight their company. A business can also offer discounts for certain client loyalty milestones. The clients will appreciate the discount, notice that your company cares about their repeated business, and will likely tell others about your company and how it treats its clients.
- Reciprocate the love. When companies and clients refer you, publicly thank them for their referrals. This may happen online, in newsletters, or at a special event, but giving public kudos to those who’ve helped grow your business reciprocates with a little PR for their company and shows that you want the relationship to be a two-way street. If the business that referred you is also excellent, try to send some clients their way with your own referrals too.
2. Offer incentives for referrals.
While it’s true that customers who are really satisfied with your business may give referrals no matter what, your company can increase the likelihood of business referrals by offering incentives. Many hair salons capitalize on this technique and offer an incentive to get a discount on your next haircut if you refer a new customer, or they may offer a free service for every three referrals you bring in. Offering discounts or free products and services for referrals can make the difference between customers referring through word of mouth and customers carrying your business card for handy referrals. Your business gets more clients; customers get free stuff; everyone wins!
3. Ask for them.
Statistics tend to show that posts on social media that ask for retweets or shares tend to get more retweets and shares than posts that don’t. That same principle can refer to business offline. Kindly asking satisfied customers for a referral, review, or customer testimony can help your business build its repertoire of good referrals and reviews. Asking for referrals doesn’t have to be by mouth, either. Providing links in a company’s email newsletter is a convenient way to ask customers for business referrals… all they have to do is click!
Attend business, networking, and industry events to build relationships with other professionals, especially those in related but not competing fields. For example, a wedding photographer can refer a great makeup artist, or a caterer may suggest an awesome florist.
Also, get to know businesses in your local area. Your industry may not relate to the Italian restaurant down the street, but you can still refer it for those in the area around lunch time or looking to cater their business meeting. Then, that little Italian place will have reason to remember your business and recommend it as well. Feeling a sense of connectedness in your business community is an added bonus to networking based on location; next time there is a community event or meeting, you will already be well-connected and have a relationship started with those around you.
5. Follow up.
If you receive contact information for a potential client or business partnership through a referral or networking event, contact that person or business to build a relationship and see if they are still in need of your products and services. Even if they aren’t, they will see that your company is organized and reliable enough to follow up and will remember you when they or someone else needs your product or service.
Plus, you can always ask that they remember your company for their future needs and for referrals if they meet others looking for your type of business. Just speaking to these contacts on behalf of your company will remind them of your business and keep it fresh on their minds to refer others.
As a final note, keep in mind that your business needs to be awesome to get referrals. No one wants to refer a business with low-quality products or poor customer service, no matter what you do or how you ask. Therefore, first make sure that you are offering something amazing to fulfill the needs of your customers and clients. Second, keep your customers satisfied by listening to their comments and working to serve them in a way that shows you value them. If those priorities are not set in place first, your business is going to have a lot more problems than a lack of referrals.