Customers are not just a source of revenue for your company; they’re a potential gold mine for referrals that can generate even more business.
Satisfied customers can be a wealth of referrals for products beyond your primary product line. All you need to do is ask, but it must be handled appropriately.
Following are 10 tips on how to generate referrals.
Tip # 1 – Create a systematic process. Referrals are often random. Create the repeatable system. All customer service representatives, sales representatives and outside technicians should ask for referrals in the right situations. People need the track to run on, so create the system.
Tip # 2 – Acknowledge referrals. When you receive a referral, send a note to your customer letting them know the referral contacted you and that you greatly appreciate it. Why would they send another person to you if they don’t feel you value them?
Tip # 3 – Reward those who give referrals. What’s in it for your customers if they send you referrals? Usually nothing tangible. Referrals are valuable. They’re gold. Create an appropriate reward system. This will greatly increase your flow of referrals. It doesn’t need to be anything expensive. This is an area where ‘it’s the thought that counts’ truly applies.
Tip # 4 – Educate customers on all your services. Your customers may not realize what you have to offer in the way of additional products and services. If they know what you have to offer, they may be more likely to use your services and also refer a colleague, friend or family member.
Tip # 5 – Educate and sell on your Web site. A customer may refer someone to your Web site for additional information. If your Web site is confusing or doesn’t give adequate information, a potential new customer may become frustrated and choose not to call you. Your Web site is a tool for selling and educating. Make sure it does precisely that.
Tip # 6 – Tell customers what you will do with a referral. When a customer is thinking about giving you a referral, they may worry that the people they send to you will be hounded by your company and given a hard sell. Tell your customer what actions you will take so they are comfortable giving you a referral. If they have negative preconceived perceptions, it is your responsibility to change them.”
Tip # 7 – Ask for referrals. The biggest mistake companies make is that they presume customers will give a referral without being asked to do so. They hope the referrals will come but they never actually ask for them. Design a system and script that will make asking for referrals a comfortable process for your people.
Tip # 8 – Stay in touch. Your marketing department needs to keep your company’s name in front of your customers in a variety of ways. Use every available resource as an opportunity to educate and sell.
Tip # 9 – Educate yourself. There are lots of effective referral strategies. Make use of the Internet, bookstores and libraries to educate yourself on others’ successes and failures. You will find wisdom in other companies’ experiences. Seek it out.
Tip # 10 – Commit yourself to generating referrals. It all starts with a commitment to learn which referral strategies work, determine the best ones for you, create a plan and then follow through with unwavering persistence.
What other steps can you do to increase your referrals?