As people, we prefer to do business with others that we know and trust. If a business is recommended to us by someone we trust, we are more likely to do business with them. That is why referrals are widely known to be the most effective and cost-effective way to generate new business. A referred customer is a lot more likely to be in your target market, cost very little to acquire and have a higher likelihood of being loyal to your business.
If you are already receiving a few Word-of Mouth Referrals for your business, well done, you are obviously doing exceptional work, however, taking a more strategic approach to referrals could mean a large boost to your business. While most people are willing to refer a job well done, life can get in the way and or they simply do not think that hard about it. It is not that they don’t want to rave about your work, just that they have not gone out of their way to refer you. This is why it can be so beneficial to ask, it makes them think about who they could refer you too.
Most business owners can find it difficult to ask for referrals, though, so here are my top tips on asking for referrals.
The Right Mindset
If you are one of the many business owners that feel uncomfortable asking for referrals, the biggest thing to work on is your mindset. Remember that it is in our nature to want to help, your customers will usually want to refer you.
And if they don’t, it will really not be that detrimental. Don’t expect that everyone will say yes, especially not straight away. They may say they don’t know of anyone at the time, but your business will be at the front of their mind for a while. This may still lead to a referral further down the road.
And until you have gained the confidence in asking for referrals, try writing yourself a script to follow.
The Right Client
Spend the time building your relationship with your client first and be deliberate about who you are going to ask for referrals. Focus on clients you already have a great relationship with.
A Client that you have worked well with for some time is more likely to trust you and vouch for you to others.
If you do receive a referral, be sure to thank your source. A simple email or phone call to say thanks will show that you appreciate the time they took to send a referral your way. If you want to, you can even offer an incentive – a discount or referral fee are great ideas for getting more referrals from clients.
The Right Time
With projects, there is usually an end-point meeting or a final email to send. This can be the perfect time to ask for a referral, provided they have been happy with your service. Make sure you and your business are still in the front of their mind and they have gotten some results before asking.
If they are an on-going client, look for opportunity when you have just provided outstanding service or results. If your Client starts raving about you and your work, this would be a great time to ask for a referral.
Make it as easy as possible for your Client to refer you. Most people stick with verbal referrals, but if they want to refer someone to you via email, send them a template email.
If they can’t refer you, why not ask for a review or testimonial on your website or through Google. There are alternative ways to ask your Clients to promote your business without them having to give a referral. Get them to follow you on Social Media, if they engage with you on Facebook, their friends are likely to see your posts too. These friends may just need your services or products.
If you know someone that could use your Client’s services or products, refer them. You are more likely to get a referral from a Client if you have already shared their work with others. You could also share their work through channels such as Social Media.
Asking for referrals can be hard, but once you are in the right mindset, with the right customer and right timing, it can feel natural and more comfortable. Remember, practice makes perfect, so just start asking.
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