Most people take time to listen to the opinions of friends and family before making purchasing decisions. Therefore, word-of-mouth can be a very powerful marketing strategy for any business. With this realization, many businesses are now applying different referral marketing techniques in an attempt to reach more customers. The following are some tactics for getting valuable referrals from your clients:
1. Exceed expectations
The best way of getting your clients to refer you to others is to exceed their expectations. This way, even if you don’t ask, they are likely to tell everyone who cares how great your products or services are. This could be through blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets or simply word of mouth. Such unsolicited referrals can go a long way in creating awareness about your brand and boosting sales.
2. Know when to ask
It would not make any sense to ask your client for a referral when you have not delivered what you promised. The best referrals come from customers who are satisfied with you. Therefore, referral requests should always follow positive client outcomes. For instance, once you have delivered a successful web design project to a client, ask them to refer you to others who would benefit from your services. If they are happy with your work, they will be more than willing.
3. Provide a template
When asking for referrals, you need to keep in mind how busy most of your clients are. Therefore, don’t just ask and wait for them to get back to you. Instead, find a way of reducing the workload. Providing a template will make it much easier for clients to direct referrals to you. Here is a sample email template:
I have been working with (your name) from (name of company) for some time now. He has just completed designing an amazing website for my business (site link). I just thought that you might want to work with him for your future web design needs. If you are interested, here are his contacts:
After sending the template to your client, you can follow up after two weeks to find out if it was sent out.
4. Write a formal agreement
When beginning a project, most businesses write agreements with their customers which outline details such as scope of work, expectations and payment details. This helps avoid confusion as the relationship advances. Though it might seem premature, you could consider including referrals in this agreement. This will show the client that you are committed to the success of the project. You could phrase your request as follows:
‘If (your company) meets or exceeds at least 80% of the target within three months, (the client) will provide at least two qualified referrals’.
5. Add forwarding links to your emails
When pitching a product or service to your clients, it would be advisable to include a forwarding link in your email. This could be a simple ‘Share with a friend’ link which allows your clients to share the content with others in one click. If you make it easy for your clients to share information with others, you are likely to get more referrals.
See also: How to Stay in Contact with Your Clients
What other tactics has your business used to get referrals from customers? Please share with us in the comments section below.