Getting referrals is every business owner’s wet dream. More clients and customers, without you having to actively beat the pavement looking for them? Yes, please. The problem that a lot of people run into is that they have no idea what to actually do to get referrals, so they just kind of put something like “get more referrals” in their marketing plan and then – shock – nothing happens.
Set up your client & customer follow up systems!
Why the exclamation point? Because this is super effing important and so many people are totally lacking it. If you have talked to me, worked with me, heard me talk on a call or webinar, or interacted with me in almost any way, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about this, but for good stinkin’ reason. People who have already worked with you or bought your products and enjoyed the experience are much more likely to become repeat customers, given a chance, than a random person off the street is likely to become a customer. If you don’t have these systems set up, you’re pretty much actively hemorrhaging money.
Here’s the basic steps for setting up these systems & sticking with them:
- Choose a way to keep your client/customer information organized, and get all of the current information from your past customers/clients in there. My tool of choice for this is Contactually, but there are other options out there (Ming.ly, Batchbook, and Salesforce are three other popular options).
- Make sure you’ve created a way to update the tool you’re using regularly, so that you don’t have to go through and do a massive backlog once every six months.
- Decide how often you want to keep in touch with your clients and customers, and create a template for each touch-point (that can be easily customized for them – you don’t want to send canned, douchey emails).
- Bonus points: create special discounts or service packages available only to previous clients/customers.
- And then just get in the habit of using your system!
(If you want a more in depth resource on this, check out the Client Follow Up Action Kit.)
Consider implementing a client referral system
This isn’t something I’ve done myself for my business, as I feel like it can be tricky to navigate in a way that doesn’t come off as “Your money was great! Get your friends to give me money, and I’ll give you money!” (say it in a cheesy used-car-salesman voice, it’s better that way).
But that’s why I snagged some resources for you:
- How to get customer referrals, via Inc.
- Straight talk about word of mouth marketing, via Forbes
- Why customer referrals can drive stunning profits, via Harvard Business Review (it cites the same German study as the Forbes article, but gets more specific about different aspects of the study)
Provide kickass service (both before, during, and after money changes hands)
This is super basic, and I’m sure you’re already doing your best to do this – but it bears saying anyways: if you’re trying to get more referrals, the best way to do that is to create an experience that people can’t help but tell others about.
Here’s a few places you can start systematizing that will help make things even more amazing for you + your client, and let you focus on creating a rave-worthy experience that they’ll want to tell everyone about:
- Create customer service policies (a refund policy is a good place to start) and email templates for frequently asked questions, and make sure everyone on your team is aware of them
- Create systems for your services so that they go as smooth as possible for both you and the client
- Make sure that everything on the back-end – payment, intake questionnaires, any technical bits of your services – is set up to function automatically, if possible, and if not, that everyone on your team knows how to fix it if something goes wrong.
This post is part of the monthly Word Carnival series of posts. This month, our carnies tackle the topic of business referrals, why you want them, how to get them and everything else you’ll need to know to propel your business forward! Check out more of the Word Carnival series here.