We all love when our phone rings (or we get a Tweet) that indicates someone has heard about us from someone else and they want to do business with us. This is called referral marketing. John Jantsch writes about this in his book The Referral Engine.
What’s interesting is that people often get referrals, because they simply don’t know what to say, says, Ron Volper is business development consultant and author of Up Your Sales in a Down Market: 20 Strategies From Top-Performing Salespeople to Win Over Cautious Customers (Career Press).
I know for me, it’s not that I don’t know what to say or even that I’m reluctant to do so, it’s that I forget!
If you’re not sure when to ask a customer for a referral, Volper says the answer is “right now.” Additionally, he advises: “Ask customers whenever they signal that they are happy with something you’ve done for them, but also ask for specific names of others who might benefit from your company’s services, and a personal introduction, too. The ‘trick’ is to be direct and transparent. Besides thanking your referral sources, send them a personal thank you note.”
Referrals are very important to small businesses – that “word of mouth marketing” mojo. If you want to really BOOST your referral engine it’s important to two do three things:
a) ASK for the referral at each chance you get
b) Develop a SYSTEM of referrals so that your company – where big or small has a steady flow of referrals and new customers
c) Let technology help you maximize your system. I did a search for referral marketing software and there are LOTS of options for technology to help you generate referrals.
Step number 7 in Infusionsoft’s (my employer) Perfect Customer Lifecycle is in fact “all about referrals”. Join our Small Business Success Center and see it in action.