Getting referrals from current customers might be easier than you think provided you remember to ask for them.
At the iPC, we understand the importance of client referrals, and we imagine you do too. Recently, we researched what other experts had to say about obtaining referrals and developed a list of the most important actions you can take to get more of them. Most importantly, we recommend making the effort to be vigilant about getting feedback from your current clientele, which is a wide and open door to asking if they would care to refer their friends. After all, if they are pleased with your products or services, why wouldn't they refer someone?
1 | Ask and you shall receive
This is our number one tip for a reason. You had better be pretty good at what you do if you think that people are always going to have your business on the tips of their tongues. Otherwise, ask, and ask politely. Chances are the person you ask is extremely happy with your business or organization, would actually be excited to refer you, and could almost instantly think of someone they would like to help out through their referral. Yet, asking always seems to be "easier said than done," doesn't it?
SOLUTION | Ask your customers for feedback. How are they experiencing your product or service? Is it good? What could your business do better for them? If they give you any suggestions, you might suggest the following to them: "If we can meet that expectation, can you think of anyone whom you could refer to us." Or, just keep it really casual. What do you have to lose?
2 | Not all referrals are created equally
We have never heard this said; "There is no such thing as a bad referral." To the contrary, although we have been fortunate enough never to have had a bad client (okay, maybe there was one), we have heard countless horror stories of the unsatisfied customer. These types of clients do exist and remind us that time is an extremely valuable commodity, and if you are going to invest in a new customer, try to invest in those that have the potential to be great and satisfied customers.
SOLUTION | Be sure to ask your current customers for referrals that your current customers have good relationships with. Being specific should weed out people who are difficult to please and end up saving you a great deal of time and wasted energy.
3 | Don't Treat a Referral like a Stranger
If you are a business owner of any type, you will most likely agree that a little hospitality can have a big impact on your business and not only because we live in the South. In fact, great professional relationships often become lifelong friendships; it is possible for our clients to also be our friends.
SOLUTION | If your clientele are just customers, treating them like friends is just the right thing to do. We recommend treating them like they are already your customers, already part of your circle. With a referral, you already have a personal connection to them.
4 | Stay Positive
It is easy to get disheartened, when, after you have asked for referrals, the doors AREN"T swinging open and the phone ISN"T always ringing. It will take time for your clients to reach out to their colleagues and potentially more time for them to respond. However, eventually, the right referrals will come along.
SOLUTION | While you are waiting for your referrals to come in, set up a meeting with iPC to discuss Inbound Marketing through Google, Social Media campaigns, and other great ways to help grow your business.
5 | Bonus | Additional ways to get referrals
Below are a few additional ways to get referrals. While they are more subtle than just straight up asking your customers, they are a good idea to implement as they can help support and grow the individual business relationships that you currently have.
- Get to know your clients better. Create profiles for your customers. Consider using extensions on your email like Full Contact or Rapportive, which will provide additional information on clients whom you exchange email with.
- Make sure to engage with clients on Social media. Like their posts and their pages.
- Endorse them on LinkedIn.
- Keep up to date with them and show you care.
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