- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Referrals are one of the most effective marketing tools for your business. People are not shy when it comes to talking about their experiences with companies, and it is important to have some ideas on how to sway those conversations. Whether those people are customers or other businesses, their referrals can mean everything to your business’s reputation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ASKING FOR REFERRALS
You can advertise and market your company in the best ways possible, but for most people, it is hard to just take your word for how great your product/service is. Few things are as effective at creating buzz than a five-star endorsement from a potential client’s friends or family.
A good review can spread like wildfire, and create a whole audience for your brand. Similar friend groups could make your business a part of their circle, families can bring your product into their household, and it can keep growing from there simply through word-of-mouth. From that point, brand loyalty is only a step away, and you can solidify success for yourself long-term. These are some ways you can produce more referrals and get that organic growth that is crucial to new business owners.
A FEW TIPS TO GET MORE REFERRALS
Just about everyone knows that a positive referral can really help out a new business, so if you feel that you had a good experience with a client, don’t hesitate to ask if they’d like to share their experience. Here are some suggestions to integrate into your company so you can stay on top of gaining more referrals:
- Set a goal
- Develop a referral system
- Develop a customer loyalty program
- Network as much as you can
Setting a weekly or monthly goal for referrals is a great way to track your progress, and just a good habit to get into so you’re actively trying to achieve something specific. Whether it’s 5, 10, or more a week, think about what’s realistic for your business and try to do better than that every month.
Developing a referral system can expedite the process and save tons of time for both you and your clients. It lets them know you value their experience with their company and put in the extra work so it is as easy as possible for them to give you feedback. It is something you only have to do once and can do wonders for gaining more referrals.
Along the same vein as the referral system, a customer loyalty program is a perfect way to bring people back to your business. It once again lets them know that you are willing to put in extra work to make their experience better. That in itself is enough to create a positive reputation for your brand, and when that feeling becomes strong enough in a person, they will be more than happy to write a referral for you.
Finally, and most importantly, networking and getting your name out there is the best way to generate referrals. Make it a point to talk to 3, 5, or however many people at an event. Pass out business cards, give people links to your site, there is nothing better than creating connections with people on a personal level. Not to mention, it is always important to leave communications open, so don’t be afraid to give them your email or a similar way to contact you!
SHOW YOUR THANKS AFTERWARDS
Always show your appreciation to someone who gives you a referral. As I stated before, almost everyone knows a positive referral can do wonders for a company, and it is important to let them know you are grateful for their help.
If you are on friendly terms with the person, treat them to lunch or give them something in return for helping grow your business. If it is a customer referral, think about giving them a reward that they can use later on. Perhaps 10% off, or something free to go with their next purchase can greatly encourage someone to write that shining recommendation for your business.
It may not seem like much to those referring you, but you know how important their kind words are to the growth of your business. It’s never a bad idea to do a little extra to give them some extra fulfillment for taking time out of their day to refer you to other potential clients/businesses.
WRITE A FEW REFERRALS YOURSELF
Make a note of clients or businesses who have referred you, so you can return the favor. It’s important to keep on good terms with other companies, and not to mention will do good for your karma! You get what you give, and that goes the same for referring customers to other businesses.
It is also a good idea to take note of how other people incorporate referrals into their company. By filling them out for others, you may stumble upon some good ideas for your own referral system while simultaneously building a close relationship with that very company.
Referrals are no question one of the best ways your business can grow and establish an audience. There are many major companies, industries, and small businesses alike that use referrals as a method to figure out what they are doing right and what they need to improve on.
There are plenty of different strategies you can implement to get more referrals, and it is important to try out a few of them and see which work best for you. Much like businesses run differently, different referral systems can work just as effectively as each other.
Do not feel as if you’re begging for handouts when asking for a referral, plenty of people enjoy writing about their experience with a company, and it by no means makes you look bad for encouraging people to share their thoughts.
Of course, don’t forget to be thankful to those who take the time to refer your business to others. It’s because of these people that the place you work so hard for can grow, and letting them know how much it means to you will encourage them to come back and write again!
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell