If you want anything in life, your best bet is simply to ask for it. You may be surprised at how successful this easy (yet bold) approach can be. I’ve seen it work in dozens of scenarios, from being upgraded to first class to receiving a higher salary to getting free samples at a bakery, all from simply asking.
The same goes in our professional lives. Do you really want to work with a certain company? Do you want more referrals? You guessed it; just ask.
In the business world, client referrals are one of the most lucrative sources of growth. People are more than 30% more likely to trust a referral over online advertising, social media, and search engine marketing. One happy client could bring in dozens of new business prospects, all by mentioning your name to a group of friends.
So, how do you get more referrals? Yes, the first step is simply to ask, and to get over the notion that you will seem desperate by asking. You deliver great value to your clients and you want other people to benefit from your services. You are also setting your clients up to help out a friend and appear knowledgeable. It’s really a win-win.
We’re sharing our tips and tricks to creating a referral loop. These tips include making the ask, providing helpful material, leveraging your digital presence, and keeping in touch.
Here are eight tips to building your build through referrals:
- Just ask: Bring up the fact that you’re growing your company and are looking for referrals at your next meeting (if it’s a new client, wait a bit so you can prove your worth). Here’s a script you can use: “I’m really glad you’re satisfied with my work. I’d appreciate it if you could pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in marketing help. Can I leave these extra business cards with you?”
- Have a referral reward program: Everyone loves incentives. Come up with some sort of reward program to thank clients who bring in new business. You could give away a complimentary training on social media/blogging/SEO, a free service at your organization, or a gift card.
- Make referral cards to hand out: Make it as easy as possible for your clients to refer you. Print some cards with your logo, contact info, and space that says, “Referred by_____.” Write your client’s name in the blank space and give it to them to pass along.
- Use your email signature: That block of text at the bottom of your emails is precious real estate, especially considering how many emails we all send. Take advantage of your email signature and make sure to include your contact info, website link, and a call to action for referrals, something like “Have a friend who needs marketing help? Pass along our contact info!” Or, promote your referral reward program (if you have one).
- Stay top of mind: Showcase your expertise online. Publish blog posts, stay active on social media, and send out a weekly newsletter to stay top of mind. Create free webinars or SlideShares and encourage clients to invite their colleagues and friends.
- Give referrals yourself: The more you give, the more referrals you will get. Whenever you have the chance to bring two contacts together, do so. Almost everyone will appreciate the referral and the opportunity to expand their network.
- Say thank you: Have a system in place to acknowledge every referral you receive from a client and keep the referrer updated about the progress. This doesn’t have to include a gift, merely sending a “thank you” card will do.
- Keep in touch: Not all referrals will turn into clients, but they are still valuable prospects. Set a reminder to follow up every few months, and add them to your newsletter.
Now, we’re working off the assumption that the quality of your business is up to par. Your clients have to be happy and satisfied with your work in order for the referrals to start rolling in.
If you are confident in your clients’ satisfaction, just make it as easy as possible for them to refer you. Arm them with business cards and shareable content, and promote your rewards program. And, of course, just ask.