This post is about how to tap into possibly the most powerful marketing strategy in the world.
Word of mouth recommendation is an incredibly effective form of marketing, because what other people say about you is more believable than what you say about yourself (this is why testimonials are so good for business).
And the very best word of mouth marketing of all is a referral, where someone is essentially saying, “this person solved my problem….you should go to them so they can solve yours too”.
We all like referrals but most business owners are doing nothing proactive to get them. In this economy, that is very dangerous.
Here are some fundamentals on how to maximise the effectiveness of Free Referrals:
- From day one, customers need to know that Referrals are a key part of your business and that if you do a good job for them, you expect them to recommend you. If that sounds like taking a tough stance – it is but try it – you’ll be surprised at how effective it is.
- If you’re getting Referrals at the moment without asking for them, you’ll double or triple the number you get when you do ask. Ask in person, ask by mail and email, ask on the phone. Ask – and keep asking.
- Remember that customers are not just doing you a favour by giving you a Referral. We ENJOY giving Referrals. Don’t you love recommending a great film you’ve seen to a family member or friend? Your customers will actually get pleasure from giving the people they know the same experience they’ve had. This is one of the reasons that asking for Referrals works better than many think.
- Thank your customers when they give you Referrals. Send them a letter or call them.
- Reward your customers for giving you a Referral. Either with a gift, or something of value from your business or, if appropriate, with cash. The better the gift, the more likely they are to give you more Referrals.
- Have a formal Referral system where you ‘Market’ referrals in the same way that you Market your product and services. Promote your business’s Referral process with emails, direct mail, phone calls and meetings.
Referrals are a vital part of the Marketing mix during the best of times. But in a challenging economy, they’re simply essential. People are far more cautious with the money they spend. If you’re recommended to them by someone they trust, it will massively reduce that caution.
Because they’re Free, the typical business owner thinks Referrals are too good to be true. In this economy, be anything, but don’t be typical.