Referrals and word of mouth (WOM) are great ways of attracting more clients. People trust personal recommendations more than anything else, and they are one of the easiest ways to keep growing your business.
Many sole traders and small teams solely rely on this as a way of getting more business, so what if we told you how to get more WOM referrals than you could ever imagine. How much would that grow your business?
Here’s some top tips on how to do just that.
Have a clear audience. Potential referrers (those who could pass your name on) need to know exactly who you want business from, otherwise they will be unsure whether you can help their contacts. The more specific you can be about this, the better and clearer it will be for the referrer. Remember this don’t have to be typical categories like age and gender, but could be people who share a certain problem, are in a certain industry, or have other traits in common.
Tell everyone. The next step is to tell your existing clients and contacts that you are looking for referrals and who they could be. So make it clear on your website, on your business cards even, put it in your email signature and tell your clients… “I am looking to help more people like you, do you know anyone who is … and need help with… or they might say… and if so please point them in our direction or let me know and I can give them a no obligation call.”
Take this opportunity to give your current clients a call (preferably a call not email) to ask if they are getting on ok and if they are happy with your service. When they say yes, explain to them as above that you are looking for referrals and ask if they know of anyone.
You might find that you get names straight away doing this, or it might be a slow burner. Either way they will be happy that you have spent the time to call them, and customer service goes far. This leads to the next point.
Customer service goes a loooooooooong way! People don’t often think customer service is part of marketing but actually it is one of the most important things that massively effects your reputation. Without it you will never see any WOM referrals. So go the extra mile, be overly helpful, always smile, always be positive, keep them safe, make them part of a community, never keep them waiting unnecessarily, be polite, be nice, compliment them, be timely, deal with issues quickly, and unless totally unreasonable, do everything in your power to deal with any complaints.
Have a referral scheme in place. To make the most out of the word of mouth you generate, everyone has to benefit, not just you. Please read our post on how to create a perfect referral scheme here.
Sell through the room. This phrase is often used with regards to a networking meeting. Let’s say everyone has 50 people who they know and you go to a networking meeting with ten other people, that’s a network of connections of 500 people. Now if you try only to sell to the people in the room then you are not going to be tapping into those 500 connections. So when networking, ask them if they know of anyone who is within your clearly defined audience, it might even be them!
Find ‘Middle Men’. Creating great relationships with contacts work with your target audience can be a great source of new and constant referrals. Read more on this here.
Keep improving. We always suggest that the business should be constantly improving anyway, but if you are improving in areas where your customers actually see real benefits, i.e. save money/time/effort then you will ensure your customers will praise you highly in front others continuously.
Keep in touch. Make sure your customers also keep you at the top of their mind, so that if anyone ever asks about your industry, they talk about you. Top of mind awareness is incredibly important for WOM referrals, as you don’t want your competition to spring to mind first over yours. So make sure you have a way of keeping in touch with your customers at least on a monthly basis. This could be with simply a nice newsletter, or go the extra mile and send them a postcard every once in a while or a gift. Read more about email marketing here.
Surprise them! Make people talk about you! Imagine you walk into a meeting with someone and on their desk is a huge box of chocolates which was given to them by another company just for being a good client. Wouldn’t you want to know who that company was and what they did – most certainly! So do something extra special every so often to make an impact and to get your customers talking about you.
ACTION: Go through this list and see if there are ways you can improve on making the most of getting referrals and increasing the word of mouth exposure.
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