Now, more than ever, personal recommendation is vital to any business’s success.
We all seek other’s experiences before selecting to buy anything from the services of a plumber to a new car.
And we know from personal experience that a recommendation from someone who has already bought a product or service is a very powerful influencer on our decision making.
So what are you doing to encourage people who have bought from your company to recommend your products and services to their friends, business colleagues, networkers, social media followers and even family?
Having an active plan to achieve this is one of the key marketing elements I work on with business owners looking to create stronger sales and profits for their company, and more time for themselves.
It is what I call a ‘Referral Strategy’ – ie a thought through approach to persuading customers to refer you to others, rather than just hoping, or assuming it will happen!
So let’s start with the basics.
Before you can expect your customers to refer you to others you have to be sure those customers are very happy with what they bought from you in the first place.
Start with those you know have been delighted by your business and identify just why they love what you have done for them.
Triggers for referrals
These can then be the ‘buttons’ you push when communicating with them that triggers them to refer you to friends and colleagues.
(This is also a very useful exercise for understanding how you can improve your company’s products and services – an essential part of developing your business).
What you are doing here is identifying what will motivate these customers to recommend your company.
For some it will be no more than that they want to help other people to have a good experience – “I know a great builder who will not let you down”, “You should try this new English wine, it’s surprisingly good” etc.
These people may also enjoy being seen to have knowledge, and simply like being appreciated for their assistance.
Others may need more than this.
They may ask that most universal question of motivation: “What’s in it for me?”
These customers are looking for a direct benefit for themselves – an incentive which may be financial, or of other value, but which is more than just praise!
This is understandable, but please be clear – even with an incentive they are unlikely to refer you unless your product or service is exceptionally good.
No-one wants to be told that their recommendation was poor.
So what you provide must be extraordinary. Good or even great just won’t do.
If you want people to refer your business to their friends then make sure it is exceptional.
In my next blog we will uncover 5 Steps to Creating a Killer Referral Strategy, so stay tuned!
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