For most businesses, the number one source of new leads is through referrals. These are the people who have found your company through the recommendation of a friends or colleagues who had a positive experience purchasing from your business. They are ready to buy from you, tend to buy more often, are highly loyal. If executed correctly, your business will see higher gross margin levels and better retention rates. Since they come to your business qualified and trusting in your company, these referral customers cost less to acquire compared to the leads you generate from other marketing campaigns.
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Think about all the people who could potentially refer business to you, from clients to people in your personal life. There are endless sources of individuals who are always willing to help send business your way. A referral strategy is any system that you can use to generate new leads through multiple referral sources. In this week’s training video, we learn the different type of sources to use and how to come up with a strategy/program to double your referral customers.
Past Relationships – These are former colleagues, friends, associates, and clients whom you may have fallen out of touch. Including them in your strategy is as simple as reaching out by phone or email and just updating them on your latest business initiative. Moreover, gently ask at the end to refer anyone that could benefit from your services. They will appreciate that you are trying to reestablish your relationship with them.
Your suppliers and vendors are a great source for referrals since they are usually dealing with businesses that are similar to your own.
Customers have a high level of knowledge when it comes to your business. The words of your client are at least ten times stronger than any other marketing campaign you do. Moreover, if targeting your top 20% of your ideal customers, you can connect with people that have similar demographics and psychographics making them high-quality leads.
Give your employees and associates a reason to have their family and friends to shop at your business with a simple incentive program. They are in the best position to sell you to a potential customer and tap into an endless network of people.
Indirect competitors can help refer their clients or potential clients to you if they cannot meet their client’s needs and vice versa.
Don’t forget to ask your friends and family for referrals. Take time to explain precisely what your business is and how you differ from competitors. Most likely they will know someone who can benefit from what you are offering.
Associations and Special Interest Groups are a network of people who have similar beliefs and values as you and can help you generate referrals.
Media – here you want to establish a relationship with an editor, journalist, blogger and position yourself as an expert in your field. They can then write an article about your company and recommend your service to their following.
Be open with your referral sources and just ask if they would be able to refer any of their friends or associates to your business.
Consider offering customers who successfully refer clients to you discounts, free products, or gifts. Incentive-based referral strategies work wonders, and you can easily implement it as part of a customer loyalty program.
The only way the program will work is if you are proactive by maintaining an ongoing effort. For example, in each shopping bag put in a referral card to remind your customers to refer their network of people over.
People are often impressed by companies that provide excellent customer service. So treat all potential and current clients with exemplary service and this alone can encourage them to refer your business.
Make sure that you stay in touch with all of your potential and existing customers to nurture your relationship with them. Customers are more likely to refer business to you over your competitors.
With a little effort, and the creation of a strategy you can easily double the number of qualified referral customers that walk through your door. All for a minimal investment in time and resources. Most business owners can benefit from adding a referral program to their business.
Learn more about how to integrate referral marketing into a comprehensive marketing strategy by joining us on our next Accelerate Your Business webinar. Click here to register.