Referrals are so powerful because they are so effective at generating new business. In fact, according to one study (Neilsen), 92% of people trust referrals that come from people they know. And a further study (Marketshare) found that word of mouth can boost your marketing by as much as 54%, resulting in conversion rates up to 70% higher.
That’s a lot of stats showing the impact word of mouth marketing can have on your bottom line. At the end of the day, people value referrals. It’s that simple. So, now you just need to get more of them, right?
Referrals: Best Practices
We know you are itching to get more business, but take a moment to make sure you are actually prepared for a rush of new clients. The last thing you want to do is get new leads just to have them experience you scrambling. So, make sure you have inventory at the ready, nail down your sales process, and train your staff to be able to answer any questions that may arise.
Timing is Important
A lot of times, business wait for a deal to close or for a client to make it all the way through the sales process before asking for a referral. It seems like common sense, right? WRONG. It isn’t always best to wait until a project wraps up before asking for a referral. Once they’ve paid you and closed out the invoice, they may be on to other projects and even if they liked your services, they may just no longer have the energy to give your project more time.
Instead, try asking at other times within your sales process. Perhaps after a client has mentioned how much they like your services or maybe after step one of a multi-phase project. That’s when they may be really invested and excited about your project, versus the end. If a client comes back to you for a repeat service or project, ask then! They are clearly happy with your work, so you could even entice them with a referral discount on their second project…which leads us to…
Some people just need a little motivation, so think about how you can entice current clients to spread the news. What about a discount or voucher? Or think about free products or services-even promo items. This is where you get to be creative and think about what your clients would find most valuable.
Perhaps the only thing standing in the way of more referrals is just some basic information. Are you sure your clients understand everything you can offer? Think about including a referral card in every order. It can have a brief outline of your products/services, as well as a run down of any referral discounts. Include a line to write their name so they can get credit for the referral. Having something tangible to pass on to a friend makes it so much easier to refer!
Use these best practices to get your referral game off the ground and running!