Referrals are the best kind of leads you can get. This is classic word-of-mouth advertising, where somebody is so happy with a service that they tell all of their friends and colleagues about it. You’ll get the best, longest lasting, and most loyal clients through recommendations. One good way to get referrals is to give each job your absolute best, but here are some additional tips for encouraging your clients to help you build your business.
1. Come Right out and Ask
Why not come right out and ask them? Ask for referrals at key points in the sales process. The best time to do this is right after you’ve delivered the results you clients wanted. After you’ve reported superior results, send the client a simple email asking them if they know anyone else who could benefit from your services. Tell the client that you’re expanding your business and you’d really appreciate it if they could tell others about the results you can produce.
You can make it easier for the client by asking if they’d take a minute to give you a few names and numbers. That way, you can take control and contact their colleagues directly. If you give your client a piece of paper or email template with the space for these names and numbers prepared, this makes it even easier for the client to help you.
2. Make Your Offer Clear
Whenever you ask for referrals, make it absolutely clear what you’re offering the client’s contacts. For most consultants, this means the same services you performed for the original client. It’s important to do this so that there isn’t any confusion when you talk to the referral. Clients may tell their colleagues that they’ve got a great ‘web guy/gal.’ Make sure they understand that you’re a social media consultant.
Just like your initial sales, be sure to emphasize the benefits of your service. You may say something like, ‘If you have any friends that need increased engagement and better lead generation through social media, I’d appreciate it if you would refer them to me.’
3. A Rewards Program
If you want to give clients a little nudge to get them talking, offer a rewards program. You can give them credits, discounts, coupons, or additional services for each referral they send your way. Then, when a customer refers a new client to you, you give them this added benefit on the next job you do for them. Tell the client to make sure their referral mentions their name.
A surefire way to increase referrals is to over-deliver on each job you do. Go above and beyond your customers’ expectations and blow them away with your service. You’ll end up with happy customers who want to tell all their friends about you. Psychologically, they’ll often be so grateful that they’ll feel obligated to give something back to you by recommending you to others.
5. Rinse and Repeat
Even when you’re not actively seeking new clients, always use the same referral process. What you’re doing is seeding, and these referrals could take weeks or months to finally reach out to you. Work the process of asking for recommendations from clients into your regular sales process.