Established business get more than 70% of their business through word of mouth.
The heart of all businesses is relationships. The successful business people understand the value of referrals when it comes to growing their business. Referrals are strong leads that come through trust earned, and by developing relationships with people.
Your referral strategy should emphasize more on strengthening relationships. Create your customers in such a way that they create more customers for you. Automatically there will be constant flow of referrals in your sales pipeline.
Here are few easy ways to get more referrals for your startup :
1] Accessible and approachable contact information — Make sure that your contact information is easily available, accessible and approachable for the people to share or interact with you. This means that your contact information (email, website) is mentioned in all your business materials, including your invoices, marketing materials, email signatures and social media. Give your business cards freely even if the person may just be an acquaintance.
2] Get out of your comfort zone and pitch at the right place —
Every one of your business contacts has the potential to connect you to plenty others. Don’t be sheepish. There is nothing pushy. 92% of clients trust recommendations. A word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing force. In fact, getting a referral is the highest compliment you can ever receive.
Pitch confidently. Let the person know that you are providing excellent quality products and services.
3] Start asking for introductions — Sometimes, directly asking for referrals can confuse your clients about what exactly you need. A name and number or reference ? Make it straight and ask for introductions instead. Try asking “ Would you be willing to introduce me to few people in your network ?“ This will clear the vagueness of referrals and instead clearly communicate your contact exactly how they can help you connect with the prospects you want to meet.
4] Set aside 15 minutes each day — Commit yourself to ask for one introduction per day. This will keep your sales pipeline always full. You can ask your friends, family, prospects, customers anyone to introduce you to someone in need of your product or services. You can get an introduction in less than 15 minutes. Soon it will become the most important 15 minutes of your day. By making this your habit, you will gain 5 new introductions every week, ultimately reaching to 250 introductions every year. These 250 introductions have the potential to transform your business into a success.
All it takes is 15 minutes a day and you will have a dramatic increase in sales.
5] Social media exposure — Engage yourself on social media exposing to vast number of people. Optimize your email marketing so that you can create customized lists of clients. Write an informative email / publish a newsletter periodically. The content should be something of value to your readers. If you are a gym owner, a newsletter that discusses health, nutrition and exercise would be appropriate. A placement service provider might consider writing tips about resume writing, interviewing, etc.
This means your content should be relevant and valuable to readers and potentially enough shareable to their friends. By providing such information, you gain top-of-mind awareness among your network.
6] Host an exclusive event — The event can be customer appreciation event. Choose an appropriate venue that features the exclusivity of the event. Choose convenient date and time for the event.
You may allot two hours in the evening (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm). Generally this time doesn’t take away ‘work time’ of your invitees, otherwise it may happen that people might be less inclined to wish to attend. Invite past clients, current clients, prospects from your target market, those you think could benefit your business. Ask them to bring along others from their networks. At the event, address everyone and appreciate their presence. Let your clients do the selling for you as they tell your prospects about their experiences with you. Share your ideas and best practices you have implemented till now. This way you offer tremendous value to attendees. Finally let everyone mix and mingle with one another. Afterwards you can individually follow up with potentially useful people. This is the single most powerful method of getting more referrals.
7] Stay connected with your current and former clients — Referrals work because of relationships. Strengthen your existing relationships. Warm up your former relationships. Catch up with them through phone calls, emails or chats. Greet them on some special occasions.
You may coincide this with any upcoming holidays like Diwali, New Year, Xmas, etc. as it’s an easy conversational starter to say something along with. This method has a positive impact on them and you will always be on the top of their minds when it comes to giving an reference. This is a great way to generate business and get more referrals.
8] Acknowledge and appreciate — Always appreciate those who give you referrals. Treat them like VIPs. Give them a call or write a personalized note to thank them for referring others to your business. You can find some time to invite them for coffee or a quick meal.
You can also have a referral payment system or host a party once in a while with those that played a big role in growing your business through their referrals. This will nurture your relationships with them further and they will gladly continue to be your biggest ambassadors to their networks.
9] Create a power team of complementary businesses — A power team is a group of people with complementary professions. They work with the same clientele but do not take business away from each other. When one person in the team gets business, he/she can refer the client to every other member in the team. This way everyone gets benefited. For example, in wedding industries. A wedding planner, photographer, florist, caterer serve to the same client. Real-estate power team consist of real estate agent, mortgage broker, building inspector, property and casualty insurance agent, attorney, handyman. This way you can go long way towards generating more referrals for your business.
10] Under-Promise and Over-deliver your current clients — Delight your clients by your service and provide way more value than what you have promised to them. Let the uniqueness of your brand stand out. This way your current customers will get pleased and impressed and willingly recommend you to their network.
But do remember Today’s Delighters are Tomorrow’s Must Haves.
11] Give and Take — If you want to get referrals, you should generate referrals. Also, whenever you have an opportunity to refer an associate or bring two contacts together, do so. In a business meeting, make a point of introducing people to one another. By creating a win-win situation, you develop trust and gratitude. The law of reciprocity works here. You will also get promoted to those people’s network.