Five Steps to Generating Better Business Referrals

Your best source of new business is referrals from happy customers or clients. You cannot receive a better lead than one that has been sent your way with a strong referral.  You cannot have a more motivated prospect arrive in your store or restaurant than someone sent there by a raving fan.

The Challenge Is:

How do you get your satisfied customers to actively promote you to their social and professional networks?

The Answer:

You have to train them to do it, remind them constantly and make it head-slappingly easy.

Here are the five basic steps to more and better referrals that all businesspeople should embed in the marketing plan

1. Constantly ask for Referrals

Too many businesspeople forget to ask.  The best time to do so?  In the midst of delivering excellent service and regularly thereafter.  When working with real estate and mortgage agents, we discovered the best time to ask for a referral was before the loan or home purchase closed, while the agent was still actively involved with the client and had their full trust and attention.

Always assume your clients would be happy to refer you.  Let them tell you if they are uncomfortable doing so. (Explore why too  There may be some lingering dissatisfaction that they are keeping from you.)

2. Teach your customers how to refer you

This is the biggest improvement you can make in your referral campaigning.  Many clients would be happy to refer you, but don’t know how to succinctly present you and your service to others.  Solve that by giving them>

–  A request for referrals on the back of your business card.

3. Remind them to refer you

Talk to all current and past customers regularly and always include a request for referrals, business etc. ( This is a real motivator for me because I want to help)

4. Say “thank you” and do if often.

Reward the referrer with continual gestures of thanks and recognition.  In many businesses, this is limited by law to a verbal “thank you” and a handshake.  In other you can confer financial rewards, but try not to go too far down that road.  Buying them a nice dinner is as far as I have ever gone.  Keep it simple, inexpensive and relevant to the size and number of referrals.

5.  Generating referrals is not rocket science.

It takes a bit of work, but it should be cemented as a personal mindset into every touch point that you have with your customer base.  Asking for referrals must be second nature.  Finally ask your customer what services do you need now or in the future because I have a network of associates.  That can help you.