Although digital marketing is the most commonly used channel nowadays, word-of-mouth marketing remains effective. Customer referrals can bring in new clientele, and they oftentimes turn out to be the most loyal contacts a company can make.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a simple, easy, and powerful marketing tool. Marketers shouldn’t shy away from this opportunity. Unfortunately, most marketers do. Studies show that 91 percent of customers are willing to give a referral, but only 11 percent of salespeople ask for them. This may be because most salespeople are focused on closing the deal and are too worried to ask for a referral on top of that.
Even those who manage to ask for one can easily feel awkward about asking for one again if the client fails to deliver the first time.
But the truth is, salespeople who actively seek out referrals earn four to five times more than those who don’t explore this market. Nearly 50 percent of top sales performers ask for referrals consistently. Simply put, if you want your business to grow, you need to step up your referral game. Here we will talk about how you can do just that.
Why is it Important to Ask for Referrals?
People are more likely to trust people they know. It’s human nature. This also applies to the people they would rather do business with. So if your business gets an endorsement from their friends or family, you are more likely to convert them into paying customers.
A referral from another customer is like a five-star review that is written for someone who would be a good fit for your business.
If you spend more time on word-of-mouth marketing, your business can bump up its conversion rate by up to 70 percent, with a 66 percent faster close time. This is because referrals build immediate trust with customers.
Not only can referrals bring in new clients, it can also bring you valuable clients. Because customers hang out with others like themselves, the new customers may be just as enthusiastic about what you have to offer. They are likely to be members of your target audience as well.
Thanks to your referrer, they already trust your brand. There’s an opportunity to develop brand loyalty from there.
Learn How to Successfully Get Referrals & Attract More Clients
Along the way, you may earn some referrals without even trying, simply by virtue of your high quality of service. But if you want to get more referrals consistently, there are a few good habits that you need to incorporate into your daily business routine.
It’s like asking for reviews: there’s no use in being shy or sheepish. When it comes to word-of-mouth marketing, it pays to be proactive.
The number one rule is to be specific about what you want. Referrals may come in different forms, and some may benefit you more than others. The type of referral you ask for will have a unique impact on your business, so choose strategically.
A referral can be an introduction or reference to someone in your client’s network who may be interested in your product or service.
Similarly, it can be an online review, a testimonial, or a social media post. Testimonials and online reviews can help establish trust among future customers. Social media posts can reach a wider audience and share information about your work.
Whatever the type of referral you ask for, it needs to contain one vital piece of information: the referrer should personally vouch for your ability to solve a problem.
Set the Expectation during Your Conversation that you are going to Ask for Referrals
Asking for referrals is all about being straightforward. Your client should know exactly what you want. So from the very start of your conversation, make referrals a part of it.
When you start work with a new customer, ask them to agree to a simple deal: if you do a great job for them, they will tell others about it. Something along the lines of: “since you are going to love my service, I think you will want to tell your friends about my service, wouldn’t you agree?”
Be specific. When asking for a referral, tell them about what kind of referral you are seeking. Is it an online review, a testimonial, a social media post, an introduction, or do you have something else in mind? Additionally, tell your client about your target audience as well.
Setting goals is also a great idea when you’re starting out. The best way to start getting those referrals is by practicing. Set weekly goals for yourself and do your best to get them. Try to get five, ten, or even more per week. It will become second nature in no time.
Develop a Referral Program to Incentivize People
When it comes to marketing, you get what you give. Developing a referral system is an effective way to incentivize people for helping you out. Your product or service is not an incentive. You need to give people more value because they are helping you secure leads.
Pay it forward by providing referrals to businesses and partners for your clients. If you refer them and help them find leads, they will give you more referrals. It’s a give and take relationship. With this system in place, people will be more inclined to give you referrals in exchange.
Having a referral program will also help your community, bolstering your reputation in the process.
You can also develop a customer loyalty program. Customers who are loyal to your business are more likely to refer others to your business—so develop and maintain a customer loyalty program. This will motivate customers to keep coming back and telling others to do the same.
Show your appreciation when clients refer you to people they know. Don’t just take their referral without a thank you or follow up of some sort. You can give them a handwritten note or an email. You can even take it further and give them a gift or treat them to lunch, especially if they’ve provided you with a valuable referral. Showing appreciation is always worth the effort, even if you don’t put money into it. A heartfelt thanks is always well-received.
Follow Up with Your Customer
When marketers ask for referrals, they often hesitate to follow up. But again, being proactive will reward you with more referrals. So don’t be shy about following up on your referral requests. Give it a few days, and if the client does not respond, check up on them to see how they are doing.
Sometimes people forget to give referrals because they are busy with work or their other priorities. Even if they do want to give you referrals, they may forget about it.
Strike up a casual conversation, and then ask them again about the referral. If you think of your business as a network of connections, it’s easy to see how referrals play into your marketing structure. Your customers play a vital role in expanding this network, so a follow up is necessary every now and then.
Eventually, you will find that asking for referrals and following up on requests is integrated into your daily activities. This will help your business grow organically in the long run.
Send Business to Your Customers
Everyone loves new business—including your clients. Sending business to your customers is another good way to reciprocate and show your appreciation for their referrals. While it’s great to get sales from others, your referral pipeline will be short if you don’t return the favor.
Take note of clients or businesses that refer customers to you. This way, you can recommend them to people you know. This also ensures that referrers continue to refer business to you. It develops a healthy relationship that helps both sides grow.
What to do After You Close Them
Referrals are great for getting happy customers to spread the word about your business to others. But it doesn’t end once you’ve earned that referral. You need to keep that referral stream flowing, so ask your new customers if they can think of other people who will love your products and services as much as they do. Since they hang out in similar circles, they are bound to know a few people.
If someone compliments your brand online, or leaves a positive review, you can cash in on those compliments. If they are pleased with your work, you can thank them and ask for a referral. Simply ask if they know of others who could benefit from your services.
In between asking for referrals, make sure you spend some time perfecting your product. If you offer something exceptional, people will flock to your business. At the same time, you will struggle to get any referrals. The quality of your service needs to go above and beyond the standard for your industry to truly shine.
Word-of-mouth marketing should only be one part of your marketing efforts, despite how effective it is. The more avenues you successfully pursue, the more your business will grow. Pair your referral techniques with other marketing tools such as SEO, paid advertising, social media, content marketing, and outreach.