We all know about the power of word-of-mouth advertising. We love it and should always be looking for ways to increase engagement between your current clients/customers and new prospects. After all if “they tell two friends and they tell to friends……” The great news is there are a number of sure fire ways you can increase your word of mouth advertising and it’s called Referral Marketing.
Now you may ask why I call it “referral marketing” and not just asking for referrals. Aren’t they the same thing? My reply is no. Too many companies teach poor referral strategies and most sales representatives are not trained or comfortable asking for referrals even when it’s part of their business development (sales) program. Referral marketing is a systematic program designed to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and sales people generate more leads for their business in a very short time.
So I have compiled a list of 15 proven ideas you can implement immediately. Studies have shown that most people are more likely to do business with you if they personally know someone that has had a good experience with you. We are all looking for and relying on social proof before we make decisions. The bigger the price tag the more validation we need before we make that decision.
15 Proven Ideas for Increasing Your Referrals
- Ask your current customers for suggestions on who they know that would also benefit from your services.
- Say thank you to the person that provided the referrals regardless of the quality of the referral and your success making the sale
- Record birthdays, anniversaries and special events in your CRM and send a quick note of recognition of that special day. (if you remind them in advance you may become a hero)
- Invest in people that help you grow your business by sending them a gift or thank you card
- Volunteer to speak at local events that focus on your target market – give them an excellent presentation and free tips to help them. They will tell others.
- Create relationships with non-competing businesses that have a similar client base to yours. For example if you are selling real-estate get to know lawyers and mortgage brokers
- Become a connector. If you have a large contact Rolodex® then put it to good use. When someone says they have a problem ask them if you can suggest someone to call
- Connect with other professional service providers in complementary businesses and share blogs, articles and social media content
- Connect with local trade and business associations, networking groups and organizations that share a common vision.
- Provide positive feedback on posts, articles, announcements, presentations and press releases from people you know and others you would like to know
- Encourage clients to share your newsletter, articles and blogs with other professionals they know are having the same challenges.
- Volunteer – Find a cause that reflects your values and concerns and become a member so you can meet more like minded people in your community
- Take advantage of LinkedIn to network with other professionals in areas that you share common clients. Ask for introductions, and offer to do the same
- Become a visible expert. The go-to guy, or gal for help in your industry
This one is my favorite –
15. Host a networking event. Most local bars have very slow afternoons at specific times of the month. Ask the owner/manager if you can invite 30 or 40 people to come in for a few hours of networking, eating and drinking, before their dinner service starts. Tell the attendees there’s a one drink minimum. We’ve had over 100 people attend this type of event and it didn’t costs a cent.
Finally, don’t hand out a bunch of business cards to clients and friends and believe they will pass them along. It won’t happen. This is the worst strategy and will only make your printer money.
If you would like more ideas on how to build a better referral program, check out the B2B Sales Connections Download Centre and download a free copy of – 6 Steps to Building A Powerful Lead Referral Program in 30 Days
AIM HIGHER !
Robert J. Weese