As I continued to build my business and grow my client base, I started to realize that instead of going out and pounding the pavement at trade shows and marketing campaigns, I had a goldmine in my existing customer base. People who have experienced amazing customer service will gladly refer you to their friends and family. In fact they would love to recommend you, if their interaction with you was a positive one. As a business person, however, don’t expect that you are guaranteed that referral. You have to work and work hard to ensure that your level of service, professionalism and delivery is above and beyond.
Most business owners believe that if they have fulfilled the clients needs, they are entitled to a referral. That’s not true! Only if you have delivered exceptional service that you should be asking for a referral. Take for example one satisfied client that provides you with 3 referrals. Those 3 referrals could lead you to 9 referrals and those 9 referrals can lead you to 27 referrals. Even if you closed 60 percent of those referrals that’s 23 new clients in your pocket to grown your business further. So…how do you go about growing your business via client referrals.
Well, I have a very simple and effective system that has consistently helped my client base grow year over year.
- Ask for the referral – most business owners are reluctant to ask for a referral. If you know you have done an exceptional job and you have a happy client then you are entitled to ask. However, timing is everything!. Don’t ask for a referral at the start of the engagement, you come across as someone who is already looking for the next sale. I have employed a method, where I have a follow-up meeting with the client primarily to close the relationship and then ask for the referral and I also offer a discount to my client for their next event.
- Follow-up with the referral – make it a point to reach out to the referral that has been provided to you. Even if it is a quick hello to introduce yourself and let them know about your service and the fact that you had a relationship with their friend or family member that has referred you to them. Also, ask them for permission to send over information over email so that you can build out your CRM database and start an email drip campaign to keep your services in their mind.
- Maintain professionalism – people don’t buy from you right away. They would like to build a relationship with you first and see if you are willing to stick with them even when a sale is not going to happen in the next little while. So, be professional and build that relationship with the client and over time you will seal the sale.
- Act as a resource – if you know a client is looking for a particular service that you do not offer, be that resource and offer to help the client by putting them in touch with your contact or resource. You will come across as being an expert and as an advocate for your client.
Hope these tips have helped jog your ideas on how you can grow your own referral system. Remember to always make sure that your pipeline never dries up and if you follow the tips above I am sure you will never experience that.
As always, I’m always looking for comments, so please drop me a line.
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