6 Ways to Generate More Referral Business
by Amber Noakes
Everyone loves getting referrals. I know I do! When a prospect comes to you by referral, there is a pre-established sense of trust which makes for an easier sale and a great start to your business relationship.
So why do so many business owners invest large amounts of time and money trying to attract “cold” prospects while ignoring the vast amount of referral business they could be tapping into?
While I don’t have the answer to that question, I do have 6 Ways to Generate More Referral Business:
- Be Referral Worthy. If you want referrals to be a major source of new business, you need to make sure your business is referral worthy. What can you do to create a memorable experience for your customers? What do your customers value, and how can you provide this in a way that your competitors don’t? Going that extra mile will turn happy customers into raving fans who will want to tell their friends about you.
- Choose Your Referral Partners. There are many potential referral sources: current customers, people in complementary industries or even people in the same industry whose client base is slightly different from yours. Who are your best customers? Who can put you in touch with the types of people/companies you want to attract?
- Get Out There! Join a networking group where you can build relationships with people who can be a source of quality referrals for your business. Learn about their businesses and send them referrals. It’s all about working together and supporting each other.
- Make It Easy. You are busy, so are your referral sources. Make it easy for them to refer you. Consider writing an email that they can forward to their contacts talking about your company. It should be written from your customer’s perspective and give a few reasons why they like dealing with you and how it could benefit their contacts. In most cases, the purpose of the email isn’t to complete a sale; it’s to open the door to a conversation between you and the prospect, so keep this in mind when writing the copy. Ask to be cc’d on the email, and for them to mention that you are being cc’d in their message. This gives you the recipient’s email address and permission to follow up with an email of your own.
- Host Events. Invite your customers and referral partners and encourage them to bring potential clients along. People love events that include food and drinks. You may want to have an open house or networking mixer, or perhaps something more intimate such as a small lunch or dinner for select referral partners and their guests.
- Offer Incentives. While receiving a referral commission may not necessarily be what motivates people to send referrals, it is good to offer something to show your appreciation. Depending on the amount of your referral fee, a gift certificate for something they can experience may be more impact than a commission cheque.
PS: It is only a referral when the prospect is expecting your call. Otherwise it is still a cold call. Talk to your referral sources and ask them to introduce you by phone or email so their referral is expecting to hear from you.