The number one marketing question I had this past week from business owners was, “How do I get referrals?” The obvious response is that you ask for them! I am amazed when talking with new clients to hear that they never have created a referral program with their existing client base or they fail to actually ask their clients if they know anyone who could use their services. Asking your loyal customer base for them to refer others to you is one of the easiest ways to build new business. Who better to sell your services than someone who already understands the importance of what you do enough that they are presently paying for your product or service! Now, if you are shy about asking in person or over the phone [which I really hope is not the case], you can use email marketing, a direct mail postcard, a note on your monthly invoice asking your clients to please refer their friends and a message on your website and email signature. Creating an incentive for people to refer business by offering a discount or “give away” promotional product [within the guidelines of your business] or adding their name to a drawing are all great ways to keep the message out that you appreciate their referrals. And, be sure to immediately thank your client with a personal note when they do refer someone and connect back with them to let them know how things went with their referral.
In addition to the referrals from your direct clients, consider other strategic partners that can help send business your way. For instance, if you know other businesses that already sell to your target market and are not direct competitors, you could approach them to be a referral partner to your business by offering them a fee for each referral they send to you. This also works great if you approach non-profit organizations that are looking for ways to raise money for their organization and offer to give back to them a portion of your sales for every referral they send. Anyone who has a school age child has seen this work extremely well for wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions and food products. When my own children were in elementary school there was a local Chinese Food Restaurant that teamed up with the school and gave a portion of the entire night’s sales to the school. The school promoted the event and sent home notices that Wednesday was the night to have dinner ordered from this local business. The program was so successful that it continued to be a regular fundraiser event.
Look for connectors in your own circle of doing business as potential partners for referrals. My hairdresser received a stack of my business cards when I first opened Purple Diamond to hand-out to clients she had that owned their own business and was needing help with marketing or advertising. In return, I gave her coaching on how to market her own business while she styled my hair. We both were happy with the arrangement.
Always be looking for new ways to develop and maintain referral partnerships. The most successful businesses have adopted all of these techniques and continue to grow their list of clients rapidly. If you are not getting the success you need today in your business be sure to call Purple Diamond and see why our tag-line is: “Success wears the Purple Diamond!”
All my best to your success ~ Charlene