Marketing is great, but one of the best ways to gain customers for life is through existing customer referrals. Here’s how to boost referrals for your business.
Many business owners want marketing to be as easy as posting a status update.
In the Digital Age, this is an understandable desire. We can instantly post, like, and comment while feeling like we are spending our time productively. But, when we look at the numbers for our growing small business, we may feel defeated by the lack of conversations brought about by our digital marketing efforts.
Digital marketing strategies alone simply aren’t enough.
So, what marketing tool should you focus on more than social media and the internet? Building relationships.
When we offer our customers a fantastic product and seek to actually build a relationship with them, we are in the process of developing loyal customers. And what does someone who is loyal to a brand and a product want to do? Share it with everyone, anywhere, and any time they can!
This excitement to share results in quality customer referrals, increased revenue, and elevated brand awareness and reputation.
So, how can we boost the number of customer referrals and solidify relationships with existing customers?
Read on to find out!
6 Ways to Get More Customer Referrals
Getting customer referrals is one of the most low-maintenance and effective marketing strategies in existence. Explore these 6 tips for getting more customer referrals so that your marketing can work for you round the clock with little to no effort on your part.
1. Build Rapport
Before you go around asking one-time shoppers for referrals, build rapport with them. Building rapport means building a trusting, welcoming, and mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.
One way to build rapport is to provide outstanding customer service. Help to resolve customer concerns and leave the ego at the door. A bad review can hurt your business even more than a positive referral can help it because, well, the internet and word of mouth.
Another way to build rapport is to be genuinely interested in your customer as a person, not just as a customer who will buy your product. No one likes to feel like they’re being sales pitched all the time. Ask them how their day is going, what they do for a living, or what their plans for an upcoming holiday are.
By doing this, you are building a connection with them. They will enjoy coming to your store and they will tell their friends and family how much they’ve enjoyed their experience as well. Think of it as a “mom-and-pop store” strategy where a sense of community is woven in tightly between your interests as a business owner and theirs as a customer.
Ideally, when we give something to someone we want to expect nothing in return. At least, on the basis of reciprocity of a similar gift or cash value.
However, when we give from the heart and provide something of value to our customers without asking for anything in return, it’s more likely that we will get more in return than we bargained for. Namely, positive customer referrals.
A lot of customer referrals advice states that asking for a referral is a great strategy. Ask and you shall receive, right? Well, our lives may revolve around our businesses, but our businesses don’t revolve around our customers’ lives.
Quite frankly, they may not want to put in the time and effort it takes to make a formal customer referral we can track.
But, we can do the work for them, by offering to send their friends and families gifts on their behalf. For example, if you own a coffee store, ask your customer if you can send their friends and family a small bag of coffee on their behalf. They’ll feel great about giving something to their loved ones and you’ll get your product on their kitchen table they’ll enjoy without even meeting them firsthand!
3. Provide a Handout
Make your business accessible by providing customers with a handout of some kind. This could be a free pamphlet, a business card, or a brochure. By having a handout available to customers to take at their leisure, you cut out the awkward conversation about getting a customer referral and can instead focus on giving the customer right in front of you excellent quality service.
People don’t want to feel like they’re selling your business for you. They want to think that it’s their idea. Ideally, you want them to feel great about spreading the message about your business because it makes them feel good about themselves in some way.
4. Ask for Feedback
Constructive feedback is crucial for improving the flow of business and relationships with your customers. You can either ask for feedback anonymously or you provide a public space for customers to leave feedback such as on your website.
Either way, you’ll get a chance to address customers’ concerns and/or tout your business’s success to potential customers. Potential customers will feel more compelled to purchase your product or service when they see that you are engaged with your customers, provide excellent service, and deliver on product guarantees.
5. Give a Referral
Giving a referral to another business creates a sense of community and partnership. It shows that you’re not only interested in the future of your business, but also in other small businesses in the area. Your customers will also appreciate the referral if they are in need of a specific service but don’t know where to turn for a quality experience.
6. Say or Send Thank You Letters
Acknowledging your gratitude for a referral is paramount in maintaining and building a customer relationship. By simply thanking the customer in person or by mail for their referral, you’re showing your customer that you care about them, value their business, and sincerely appreciate the gesture.
Even better is to write a handwritten thank-you card if possible! A handwritten note shows that you’ll also take the time to show your appreciation just as they took the time to refer your business to a new customer.
Ready to Get More Referrals?
Quality referrals are based on quality relationships. As business owners, we can learn to accept and grow from criticism, but when our business gets a positive, new referral we should also learn to celebrate, too! By following these tips and focusing on authentic means for building customer relationships, we can feel confident that a customer referral from a loyal customer means we are adding value to their lives.
To learn more about how to provide excellent customer service, read our blog post, 9 Customer Service Hacks to Win Rave Reviews.