Whether it’s Facebook, Yelp and other social media tools or just good, old fashioned, word of mouth, a customer referral is a highly-effective marketing strategy.
Q – How does one get satisfied customers to actively and frequently promote you to their social networks and professional circles?
A – You have to teach them how to do it, remind them continuously, and make it foolproof and as easy as possible.
Here are the 5 steps for referral success:
1. ASK – ASK – ASK!
Too often, you just simply forget to ask. The best time to ask for a referral? At the moment you are providing exceptional service, and then routinely after that! You deliver great service or products to your customers, and you want more people to benefit from your capabilities. You should proudly to ask “Is there anyone else you know that I could help?” If you get a negative response, you might want to halt and evaluate or inquire why not. It’s a great feedback mechanism.
2. Train Them
If you are providing excellent service or products, most of your customers would be glad to give a referral – they just aren’t aware how to do it properly and effectively. You can guide them with gentle suggestions in your email marketing, social media and even on your collateral materials (back of your business card, invoices, signage, etc.).
3. Remind Them
Let your customers know! Talk to or email your customers (as is appropriate) to get general feedback and remind them that referrals are critically important to your business and its success.
4. Simplify the Process
The easier it is for the customer to provide a referral, the more you will get. Provide links on your website and communications for all the relevant review sites (Yelp, Google+, etc.). Give them a little guidance on what to write with excerpts or testimonials that have been written previously. Never give them the review text as that will be flagged or look bad.
5. Thank Them
Whether it is a heartfelt phone call or personal letter or, if appropriate, some form of financial reward, do it often and consistently. An informal reward (a nice bottle of wine or dinner) or a formal referral reward program (Amex gift card, etc.) can go a long way too. See our previous article “Why Referral Programs work…”
Don’t forget about reciprocal rewards – if you can refer business to them, you are going to foster a much deeper and financially “rewarding” relationship.
You can also investigate local business networking groups and determine if that is an appropriate avenue for you to take.
These are just a few ideas that you could consider for your business. If you would like to find out more, please contact us: