Getting more customer referrals and more businessBeing self-employed professionals we all know the benefits of getting referrals. But how can you start getting more business referrals from people within and outside your immediate circle? Firstly, referrals come from people who like and trust you. And they know you’ll take good care of any clients they send you.
Then focus on growing your circle and on developing some strong referral sources, and begin to methodically connect with these people;
1. Give an existing client or supplier a sales lead.If you know someone that is interested in a product or service a supplier or client has, then help make the introduction. If this helps them generate new business they will be much more likely to reciprocate and introduce you to their contacts that may become future customers for you.
2. Send more acknowledgement gifts or notes.Acknowledging loyal customers can go a long way and acts as a gentle reminder that your business cares about the relationship. It helps create a greater appreciation and reinforces the relationship with your business, and improves the likely hood of being referred.
3. Network more on and off-line.Identify who needs your product or service, or works with those that do? Create a “contact wanted” list of several groups whose members are, or are in touch with the type of clients you want. This could include suppliers, service providers, and industry groups that need your product or service.
Connect with active networkers from each group, meet-up or contact them and find out more on what they do, and the types of clients they work with and are looking for. Share with them your expertise and the benefits of the service or product you offer. This way you can potentially refer business to them as well.
When you find someone who sends referrals from time to time, you have found a referral partner. Add their name to your list. Now focus on getting several partners in each of the identified sectors.
4. Nurture the relationship.Stay in contact; find out who they enjoy working with and why. If they enjoy working with a particular person, then they are likely to have a good relationship with that client and potentially you too could also work well with them.
Try inviting your potential referral source to a lunch or business-networking event as a way to build rapport and get a deeper understanding of their interests and help cement the relationship. This can help you to generate more referrals and more business in the future. Also simply inviting a client out for a coffee can be a great way to discuss and build new opportunities.
5. Look to add value.Share a relevant industry article, a report, give them a heads up about a change in the industry that might affect them. This helps to build rapport and develops stronger relationships. If you’re on LinkedIn check in from time to time, say hi or congratulations on your new job.
Connect them with a new client or someone they should be networking with. If you have worked together offer a testimonial or referral.
Once you’ve established a relationship with a client ask them whether they have anyone in their network that would be a good fit for your business.
If you want more customer referrals, stay-connected, add value and use social tools like LinkedIn to build your business network and nurture the relationships.
When you have a specific goal in mind your networking can be more focused. You may join some online groups to connect with people - not everyone will be receptive to getting to know you better or the idea of referring each other business. That's okay; there are plenty of people who will be keen when they see how this can be beneficial.
Now build your circle and get more referrals…
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