Depending on your business, a high percentage of your sales should come through word-of-mouth referrals. But getting quality referrals doesn’t happen automatically. It’s a matter of intuition, skill, and persistence.
As a long-time referral evangelist, I’ve consistently grown my business more each year by giving – and receiving – quality referrals. This list of 8 tips can help you get more customers through the power of word-of-mouth:
1) Join a networking group – There are many groups available in your city to build your business through “warm” referrals rather than “cold” leads. Some meet weekly, which is what I prefer, such as Business Network International. Some meet monthly, including your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Club. Within a group, you might form a power team to work more directly with the businesses that are most like yours.
2) Have a referral mindset – Give out referrals to others whenever you can. This will lead to you getting more referrals yourself through the Golden Rule. Pass out extra business cards. Send thank you notes to customers, and include a few of your cards. Think of how you can refer anyone you meet to anyone else. And, don’t be too bashful to actually ask for referrals. It works!
3) Create a branded website – Become the master of your own domain with a website that promotes your unique name or company brand. The shorter the URL, the easier it is to refer to someone else. For example, which is easier to remember — “www.Zeimer.com” or “www.SanFranciscoFreelanceCopywriter.com?” Every time I receive a referral, the first thing the prospect does is check my website for relevant samples and experience. So make sure you showcase what you do, for whom you’ve done it, and if relevant, case studies to prove that you have the right expertise to work with that client.
4) Leverage your testimonials – Remember to continually add testimonials that you receive via email or other methods to your website and marketing materials so prospects can read how much your clients enjoy what you do. This is always a great referral trigger.
5) Give “refer a friend” coupons – Offering coupons to your customers to introduce you to possible new clients is a proven way to get more referrals. A typical strategy is to give the referring customer a discount or other gift in exchange for every friend referred. The friend could get a discount too. Get creative — the sky’s the limit on what you can do with promotions like this.
6) Yelp yourself – Create an account on Yelp.com. A New York graphic designer I work with got a huge project through a referral from a past client on Yelp because her profile and 5-star reviews were exactly what her new client was looking for.
7) Offer a guarantee – If you’re extremely confident in your services, offer a money-back guarantee. If your clients aren’t happy with it, you can refund the price of the project. This is a very bold move, but it seems to work for some people to generate referrals. But be sure to specify the number of revisions a project might include in your price.
8) Throw in a free consultation – A no-obligation consultation requires no initial payment for your services. This is always a terrific way to attract clients through referrals because they can say, “And the first hour is free.”