Other than repeat business, client referrals are some of the most lucrative leads you can receive. When a referral comes in, that prospect starts with some knowledge of you and how effective you are based on a testimonial from someone that he or she trusts. All that you need to do is to convert the lead.
If you have any doubt about the value of client referrals, consider these two facts, taken from sales experts Joanne Black and Paul McCord:
- If you actively look for and use referrals, you’re probably earning four to five times more than that of a salesperson who doesn’t go after referrals.
- Referrals have a 70 percent conversion rate on average.
Referrals don’t usually come automatically. Your existing clients have a lot on their minds, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to spend their time running around looking for business for you. They might not even remember to refer you when a friend says that he’s selling his house.
To have clients remember to refer you, you have to keep yourself on the top of their mind. Doing this starts with a phone call and a Thank You Card after you finish a transaction. It continues with ongoing email and direct marketing so they get constant reminders of you, how good you are, and, by extension, how good you’d be for their friends.
Surveys of Internet leads have established that rapid response speeds make a gigantic difference in conversion rates. When you get client referrals, immediately contact them. Doing this doesn’t just give you a chance to beat anyone else who may have also been referred, but it also sends the message to the referral—and to the person who refers him—that you’re professional, responsive and ready to help.
Telling Your Story
While you may want to modify your pitch a bit when you’re talking to client referrals, don’t assume that your previous client told the referral everything about you. Sometimes, just adding a comment like “If Rick Referrer already told you any of what I’m about to say, just let me know” before going into your usual spiel is enough.
Building the Relationship
Some client referrals turn right into a sale. In other cases, you’ll qualify the lead and integrate that referral into your regular client and prospect follow-up system. Staying in touch with that prospect with emails, postcards and other marketing pieces will help ensure that the prospect returns when he’s ready to close.
If you have multiple client referrals in your database, you might even choose to separate them and send them specific marketing messages. After all, they’re different from other prospects and may need different messaging. It’s also important to always communicate with them in a way that will reflect positively on you with the original referring client.
Whether you need to get more client referrals, want to get better at converting them, or want to make sure that you’re keeping your not-yet-ready referrals fresh for when they can be converted, Continuity Programs can help you.