People prefer to do business with people they know or know of. And that's why referrals are one of the most cost-effective ways to get new customers and retain current customers. Studies show that word of mouth – that is, referrals – has greater impact on consumers' purchasing decisions than traditional advertising. In addition, referrals come in as one of the top two most effective marketing methods for small and medium-sized businesses. So here's how to get those valuable referrals and generate more business with referrals.
Have a Referral-Generation Plan
To generate more business with referrals, as with anything, you need a plan. Yes, you will get many voluntary, unsolicited referrals from satisfied customers/clients, but you can get many more by doing something on your end. And that takes a plan for efficiency and success.
The most important component of your plan will be the referral follow-up process with customers. You'll need to learn to ask for referrals and do it methodically. Another part of the plan will involve getting employees on board with and training them in the referral-generation process. Most of the time, most customers are amenable to being asked to provide referrals and appreciate the fact that you truly value their opinion. But you do have to follow up and ask according to your plan.
Have a Clear Message
And for your plan to generate more business with referrals to be successful, you need to work on your elevator pitch – that clear, concise message you deliver when soliciting referrals. Your message should be incorporated into your customer-conversion process, and it should be clear, to the point, and easy to access. The referral form on your website that customers reach after getting your message should be uncomplicated and easy to navigate.
We all respond much more favorably to requests that are backed up by some kind of incentive. And this applies no less to trying to generate more business with referrals. But you have to get it right if it is to work effectively. For instance, your offer has to be a good fit for your business, one that will actually encourage customers/clients to provide useful referrals. And if you do offer incentives, you'll need to get the word out through several channels, including your newsletter, blog, and marketing emails.
Target Influential Customers
Keep in mind, too, that you should target only your most influential customers in soliciting referrals. While they may not be your best customers, their referrals will have the most impact. The people whose opinions will carry the most weight with potential customers within your industry or customer base are the ones to target in your efforts to generate referrals. Targeting these customers will increase the likelihood of your getting top-quality referrals with respect to effectiveness.
Say Thank You
Of course, you intend to, but sometimes just being terribly busy gets in the way. Making sure to express thanks for referrals will show customers your appreciation for their taking the time to provide referrals – and word does get around. Reaching out in ways other than online in a more personal way will yield the best results.
Use the Reputation Desk Solution for More Referrals
Certainly, to generate more business with referrals, you have to ask for them. But wouldn't it be great if you could automate and centralize the process? Now you can . . . with a software solution like the one offered by Reputation Desk, which includes:
- Referral/review generation
- Reputation monitoring
- Listing management
- Reviews microsite
It doesn't have to be a long, labor-intensive, and expensive process to generate more business with referrals. Reputation Desk offers an easier, more affordable solution with their referral and review generation and reputation management software. You will, then, have an automated, centralized system to generate more referrals, manage your reputation, and even keep your business information consistent and accurate over 45 directories. Learn more by scheduling a demo today.