For most companies, referrals are the best type of prospect. Why? Because they come with a warm introduction, a trust-worthy testimonial, and often a lower cost of sale.
Increasing your customer referrals should be a business goal for every company in the upcoming year. But, like every goal, first you need to have a plan. Decide where, when and how you will be asking for your referrals.
Here are some tips to consider when creating and executing your referral plan for the upcoming year:
- Have materials that represent your company readily available. Most customers are happy to refer you to their friends and associates but are uncomfortable describing exactly what you do or how you do it. Make their job easier by having a stellar website, marketing brochure, and/or newsletter that they can refer to in their conversations. When you take the pressure of describing your products and services, you increase your likelihood of securing the referral.
- Offer two-sided incentives. Many referral programs only offer incentives for the referrer but consider offering a two-sided incentive as a way to increase referrals and motivate the new prospect to engage in your offering. Think about what would be most valuable for your customers and prospects. Is it cash, discounted services, gift cards, a credit to their account, a free product, or free upgrades? There is plenty of room to be creative here. Just make sure it is something they feel is valuable and worth it!
- Ask! Surprisingly, many businesses forget this important but simple step. Generally, a satisfied customer will want to help you if you’ve helped them. The best time to ask for a referral is when your customers are happy and actively engaged. Your referral program should also be predominately displayed on your social media pages and website so that your customers are reminded of it often.
- Remain top-of-mind with email marketing. Designing a lead nurturing email marketing campaign will allow your company name, brand, products and services to become top-of-mind. Communicate your news and promotions on a regular basis so that they turn to you when they are ready to purchase.
- Send thank you notes. Incentives are great but delighting your customers by personally thanking them will go a long way! Let them know that you genuinely appreciate their help and look for opportunities to return the favor.