Referral Business is HugeJanuary 15, 2013
People are more likely to try out a new product or service if someone who has already tried the product or service has recommended it to them. It’s time to discover how to encourage customers to refer!
Provide Better-Than-Average Service
Who are people talking to? They’re talking to their friends. It’s easy to refer a friend to a restaurant, for example, if the service they experienced there was tremendous. It becomes more and more difficult to refer a friend to a restaurant as the level of service declines, even if it only slightly declines. No person wants to refer their friend if they have an inkling of a doubt that the service their friend will receive will not be superb.
The quality of service, especially in competitive industries, will make or break a business. Better-than-average service can come with improved training for staff members, staff loyalty to the company, and high quality service as a forefront of business goals and policies.
Ask for the Referral
Even when the service a business provides is top-notch, there will always be customers who don’t bother to take the time to make a referral. When the customer is completely satisfied and has received a stellar product or service experience, this is the best time to be straight forward and just ask for the referral: “It would be a pleasure working with you again, and in the future, if you can keep us in mind, we would be pleased to help the people you know with their car repair as well.” A business card handout would be appropriate at this time.
Another option is to offer a referral program for customers. Every time a customer makes a referral that turns into a sale, the customer is paid a small commission or given a store credit for their efforts. This is a great way to encourage customer referrals and recognizes customers for their hard work.
Refer Their Businesses to People
Oftentimes, people think of their business as a one-sided deal. People refer the business and the business is happy to get the referral. The truth of the matter is that there are two levels of referrals. One is that people refer a business, and the other is that the business refers the other person’s business as well. Business happens more organically when people understand this cyclical concept. Successful business is all about networking and helping each other out.
Make Friends with Customers
A businessperson is more likely to make a sale if the person they are selling to trusts them. Trust is something that’s built over time, and doesn’t normally happen overnight. Relationship management is an important aspect of business building, and with stronger relationships come stronger customer loyalty. Why would a friend go anywhere else for shoes but to their best friend’s shoe warehouse?
Sometimes asking for the referral may seem like the best way to go about getting more business. While being upfront is sometimes appropriate, business building takes time and relationship strengthening will prove effective over a longer period. Take the time to become friends with customers and their connection will draw them back. Provide out-of-this-world service and products, and referrals will happen naturally.