You’ve probably heard that word-of-mouth is the best advertising, and it’s true. Potential clients decide to work with you based on what they hear about your business rather than how you pitch them. Almost 80% of business referrals create viable leads. People want to hear positive things about you and your business before working with you. So how do you encourage clients to share the love?
The Importance of Referrals
Here’s a simple truth. Referrals are the absolute best way to build your business, regardless of the type of business you own. More than 90% of customers trust word-of-mouth referrals from family or friends more than any other form of advertising.
When someone refers your business, the recipient of that referral automatically gives your business more trust. And trust is everything in business. Referrals come into a call with you ready to say “yes!” Then it’s up to you to determine which of your products or services will most benefit them.
It’s the most low-cost, effective way to get new business leads. And referral business almost always results in a larger than expected sale. You aren’t starting from scratch. You’re beginning from a place of favor.
How to Encourage Clients to Share the Love
I love it when our clients say amazing things about us. I’ve also come to expect it. If they don’t, we’re not doing our job correctly. Here are some tips for encouraging clients to share the love.
Make Them Love You
First things first, before you can encourage clients to refer you, you have to make them want to do so. That means providing amazing products or services, impeccable customer service, and building a relationship with them. Too many business owners ask for referrals before putting in any work. Think about it. Why would your client refer you if their experience with you is just so-so? Focus from the beginning of your relationship on building trust and overdelivering in every way. Then, when you ask for a referral, they’ll say, “Absolutely!”
Most business owners doing the right thing for their clients don’t get as many referrals as they should because they don’t ask. Your clients can’t read your mind. If you want or need a referral, ask them. I’ve never had a client say “no” when I ask them for a referral.
Return the Favor
I love seeing the businesses we work with succeed. And we only work with businesses that we support and believe in. So I provide our clients with a referral whenever I can. And, of course, I make sure the client knows that I’m referring them. I’ve even introduced some of our clients so they can work together to grow their businesses. Nothing delights me more than helping others partner for success.
When someone helps you with something, you express gratitude. Why should a referral be any different? Be sure to thank your clients when they provide you with a referral. After all, that means they’re putting their name and reputation behind your product or service. They’re telling others, “This company did an amazing job for me, and they will for you too.” Don’t take that lightly.
This tip is related to the one above, but you have to perform consistently for clients and treat potential clients with equal care. That means being respectful, even when the fit isn’t right. If you get a referral, but the person’s business isn’t a good fit for your products or services, you still need to treat them the way you would a client. Help them find a service that’s right for them or make suggestions for improvement or next steps. Never leave someone feeling like they wasted time or with just a “no.”
Don’t Game It
You want to make it easy for your clients to provide referrals or endorsements. You don’t even need to ask for referrals most of the time. You do a great job, and they will recommend your business to others. But I see other companies that gamify referrals (How many can each customer give to win a prize?) or offer incentives for referrals. While there’s nothing wrong with rewarding people who refer you often, perhaps with a discount, you shouldn’t need to award points or prizes for referrals. If you have to give clients something to tell others that you do great work, you may not be delivering at the level you think you are.
Our clients are connected with other business owners. They see that their friends need our services, so they tell them about it. I then try to make it as simple as possible to connect with me. Whether a friend shares a referral via email or sends a potential client to our website to schedule a call, I always make sure to respond quickly and informatively. People lose interest quickly if they don’t hear from you. It also makes your client feel like you don’t value their referral or want more business.
Don’t Be Reliant
Referrals are a wonderful source for business development. But they aren’t the only way to grow your business. You don’t want to rely solely on others to build your business for you. Referrals should be one of multiple tools you use to garner new leads. They shouldn’t be the only one. Other amazing tools for business development include email and content marketing.
Share the Content Journey Love
If Content Journey supports your content marketing efforts, you’ve likely already given us a referral (or several). Thank you again for supporting us! We appreciate your referrals and will continue to do right by the people you refer to us in the future. Book a no-pressure call if you’re interested in working with Content Journey. I’d love to talk with you.