When your clients are happy with their experiences with you, they often provide word-of-mouth endorsements for your business. This often includes referrals, which are suggestions made to friends and family that they, too, should use your products and services and should expect an equally fine client experience. Referral marketing is a powerful way to build your business quickly and efficiently, and at a reduced cost. What happens, however, when clients are reluctant to provide referrals?
To improve your referral marketing effectiveness, it helps to understand the process from the client’s perspective. Referrals normally will not come easy; you’ll have to earn them through superior service, excellent products or other indicators of a top-notch business. Clients do not want to be put in the position of referring a friend or colleague to you and having that person experience poor service or inferior products. Referral marketing, therefore, puts an extra responsibility on a company to be consistently excellent in its business operations and worthy of a heartfelt referral.
Clients make their most enthusiastic referrals without expecting a reward or acknowledgement. However, if you also provide an incentive that encourages referrals, you are likely to find more current customers making recommendations to potential clients.
You can boost the number of referrals from your clients in several effective ways:
- Remember that word-of-mouth travels quickly, especially in today’s always-connected world of smartphones and social media. Maintain high-quality products and service that deserves a referral. When you offer consistent excellence, referrals will be a natural outcome.
- Encourage your clients, in a low-key way, to make referrals, and do everything possible to make it easy for them. This could include providing them with coupons or material they could give to their family and associates.
- Provide a reward for a documented referral, such as a discount, gift certificate or special service.
- Thank clients for their referrals genuinely and sincerely. This type of personal relationship-building will not only solidify your relationship with the existing client but will make additional referrals more likely.
- Include a subtle request for referrals on all follow-up client communications, via postal mail and e-mail.
How could you improve your referral marketing efforts by better understanding how your clients are thinking?
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