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Attracting More Clients Series – Article 4 0f 5
Optimizing your referral system to attract more clients
By STC Staff Writer
Running a service business can be a great way to earn a living while doing work that you enjoy. However, many business owners struggle when it comes to self-promotion and by struggle.
In other words, they ignore it all together and hope that clients will magically find there a way to them if they work hard and provide excellent service.
Unfortunately, this is not the case, primarily when you’re just getting started. To increase your client base, you should be willing to promote yourself along with your business.
One way to overcome this obstacle is to set up a referral system. The sooner the better. This way you can enlist the help of others to get the word out about your business. This is a long time marketing strategy because it works.
This continues to be one of the most powerful methods for growing a business because people are much more likely to try a service or product that is recommended to them by someone they know than they are from any marketing material they see.
Cultivate happy customers and they will gladly recommend you. The best way to do this is by over delivering on client expectations because this provides the foundation for your referral system.
I understand that asking for referrals can be daunting. There is always that little bit of fear that your client will think you’re too pushy, but you may be surprised to find out that your customers will be excited to tell their friends and co-workers about the stellar service they received from you.
Today, people are so acclimated to being asked for referrals, it’s become a common mainstream business practice. You should develop a system to ask for referrals at key points in your customer relationship.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
Ask at the right time
Some business owners make the mistake of asking for a referral as soon as the new client has signed up. The problem is, how do they know whether they like your service or not? The best time to ask for a recommendation is once a project has been completed.
One way to do this is by sending out a survey after the job is done. Ask them things like; how did they like your service, what other services they would find valuable, “would they recommend you to a friend?”
If they say yes, you can follow up with them and ask them to refer you. There are free easy-install surveys WordPress plugins available for this task.
Add “referrals appreciated” reminders in your email signature, newsletter, and website in any customer communication. If you use forms, contracts, purchase receipts or follow up notes these can be a great option too. At times, offer an incentive, a bonus for their effort.
By incorporating simple referral reminders into your client appreciation materials. Not only are you nurturing your client relationships, but you’re also requesting referrals in a friendlier, less invasive way
Maintain customer relationships
Stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis through email, newsletters, and social media. This way you can let them know when you are in the market for new clients.
We touched on this technique earlier. Offer incentives in exchange for recommendations can be a bit tricky because it’s kind of like offering a bribe. It’s wise to build a strong referral system in order to acquire good, honest reviews.
If your product delivers as promised, and your customer is satisfied with it, you will normally receive good reviews.
You can offer discounts, coupons, free services or an upgrade when an existing customer sends you new clients.
Another option is to set up an automated affiliate program that allows people to sign up and promote your services virtually hands-free. There are many ways you can do this including using a platform like clickbank.com, Commission Junction (CJ.com), Zaxaa, Infusionsoft or Amember, just to name a few.
There are also many more options available including WordPress plugins that are free to use.
Make it easy
People don’t like to jump through hoops to promote you, so make it easy for them to do so. Create a page with marketing materials including text, images, and links that people who what to recommend you can easily share with their contacts.
Consider using a clickbank.com account to handle all this for you, and your new Affiliates can even create custom links for each product you are selling through them.
Make connections – Network
Seek out other people in your industry who offer services that are complementary to yours but not in direct competition. This is using the principle of “Synergy,” meaning two or more people can accomplish more working together as a team than working separately.
Also, the biological term, “Symbiotic Relationship,” meaning two different species living together in close harmony has been adopted into the daily business nomenclature, emphasizing the benefits of working together.
Induce them to cooperate by offering a trade
This can be as simple as a swap for referrals, (I’ll tell my people about you if you tell yours about me) services or advertising. If you can make it a win/win opportunity for them you can quickly tap into their customer base.
This can help accelerate your business progress, not only saving your time and energy but help you reach your success goals much faster.
It’s not as difficult as you may think to get people to recommend your services to others. This is true especially when you take the time to set up a strategic referral system.
It’s an excellent way to get more clients without doing all the work yourself. It also helps alleviate the struggle that often accompanies self-promotion, especially in the beginning.
If you are interested in additional information as outlined in this article, need assistance in applying this information, or just want more resources, contact us for FREE (no obligation) and we will do our best to accommodate you.