It’s no mystery in the business world that getting a new customer is much harder than keeping existing ones.
What many business owners don’t seem to realize though, is that your current customers are the best way to increase your new customer base.
Think about this: If you could get each of your customers to
refer just one new customer, you would effectively double your business nearly
It’s the easiest and least used way for acquiring new customers under the sun. And yet, I bet, if you asked any random business owner how much he works the referral angle, you’d hear mostly crickets.
Why would any self-respecting business owner not use his
most valuable asset to help his business thrive in a down market such as ours?
Why most businesses don’t ask for referrals.
Let me put it this way: Fear in business is a one-way street.
If you’re fearful about asking for referrals, what else are you afraid of that may be causing you sleepless nights?
Boldness breeds bravery. And in business, you have to be bold and brave to weather the storms of the economy we’re living with.
There are many ways to ask for referrals and I’m going to tell you about a few of them right now.
Here is what you might want to do if you’re feeling even a little timid about your asking mechanism for increasing referrals and upsells as well.
First, don’t expect your referrals to come in “organically.” This seems to be a favorite word of today that indicates that things just happen “organically.”
As if Mana from Heaven will drop into your pocket and boost your bottom-line
Really, how can anybody not refer new customers to you. You’re just so wonderful and all. Aren’t you?
This is just wrong thinking
A face in the crowd
Not everyone knows you.
But if you were lucky enough to have name recognition, what would make prospects
seek you out over your competition?
If you don’t have a referral system in place, along with a well-constructed system to market your service or product, then you are just “wishing” for a miracle.
current customer base is the best source of new business you have going. Use it
to your advantage and leave any feelings of guilt behind.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when talking about
referrals is to take whatever referrals come and be happy with them. This is
just lazy and negligent.
So, what do you do next?
You have to talk to the customers you have now and let them
know what you are going to do for them if they refer new customer, clients or
In other words, you have to EARN their referral.
How do you do that?
By providing exceptional, over-the-top, inspiring products
Not by just creating a satisfied customer. A satisfied
customer does not refer in mass quantities. Or abundance.
No, you must wow your customers and clients. And when you have done just that, you have to…
Ask for the
You can’t be a wimp at this point. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Check the Bible.
Here are 4 ways to best ask for referrals:
1. 1. Set up a display and let your
customers know what your expectations are.
For instance, in a dentist’s office you can actually use some kind of display board that lists names of the patients who have referred that month. The list says in essence, “Our customers love to refer – we expect you to do the same.”
2. 2. Create referral promotions.
You can give out cards, coupons, or gift certificates good for prizes or
discounts they can sign off on and give to their friends and colleagues. Then
present a prize to the ones who generate the most referrals each and every
month. Or within a specified period of time.
Ideas could be: give away a weekend getaway or a free gift of whatever it is you provide or sell. You’ll be surprised at how this technique will pay dividends in new customers and retention of current customers.
3. 3. Conduct referral events.
You’ve heard of tent sales and customer appreciation days? These are great ways to get current customers and clients to bring new referrals. You can cater a buffet, drinks, live music, wandering magicians, and all sorts of other entertainment. Who do you think will be the talk of the business when it’s all said and done?
4. 4. Simply ask for the referral.
By far the most budget conscious way to get referrals. But not nearly as much
fun. Tactfully take ten of your business cards and ask for brief notes of
introduction to ten referrals.
When you are face to face, person to person with your customers, you can and
should use this technique.
Once you have done all or some of the above, be sure to…
and Reward your referrers.
I’ll save this for tomorrow.