Just hoping your customers, contacts, and friends will refer customers to you is not enough. By putting in place proven referral systems you can massively improve referrals to you.
To get your referral systems to work follow these guidelines
- Make sure you continually let your customers know of the benefits of using you and why it’s good for them. They are then more likely to refer.
- As with all marketing, test different referral strategies to see which work best for you.
- Always say thank you for the referral, even if you don’t get any business from it.
- Give a reward for the referral. It doesn’t always have to be money. It could be a ticket for the theatre or a football match or even just a thank you letter. If you are not allowed by the ethical rules of your profession such as accountants are from paying money, you could make a donation to charity. If you know your customer well a gift associated with their hobby may have more meaning.
- Be prepared to do something in advance of asking for a referral – give first.
- Make sure all your staff know about your referral strategies and encourage them to refer.
- If a referral doesn’t become a customer initially, keep in contact with them.
- Let your customers know who would be a good referral for you. Even type up the details of who is a good prospect.
- Think of who can refer these prospects to you.
- Let your customers know that referrals keep down your advertising costs and time spent on that which in turn helps them. Don’t beg for referrals. Let your customers know you particularly want referrals from them, as they are your best clients.
These are proven referral methods
- When you receive a referral and are invoicing the referral, give them a small discount of say £30 and let them know you are also sending £30 to the introducer. They will now be primed to refer themselves. Not only will they earn out of it, but they know they will look good in the eyes of whoever they refer to.
- Offer a free invite to a seminar if they bring a friend.
- Give your customers some cards with a free offer. On them is space for the name of the customer and the referral. When the card is filled in and the referral buys, both the customer and the referral receive the free offer.
- Swop your list of dead prospects with your competitor’s list of dead prospects. You could even write a letter endorsing each other’s services.
- Just ask “do you know anyone who could benefit from our service or product?” Say how much you would appreciate referrals.
- Give your business card to introducers and just tell them to write their initials on the card and for the customer to hand it in when buying to get a special discount.
- Run a cross-promotion with another business that has similar customers to you. For example, a cinema gives a 20% off voucher to a restaurant. The cinema looks good and adds value to the transaction and the restaurant gets more business.
- Add a referral question to your questionnaires and surveys “Would you provide us with the names of 3 people who may benefit from our service”
- Ask for a referral whenever you gain or lose a customer.
- Use referral vouchers that offer a discount or something else.
- Give referrals to others first and they will be encouraged to give back.
- Think of where other people benefit from what you do but aren’t the customer, such as a caterer at a christening. You agree with your customer that as part of your offer to them you’ll write to all the other guests and offer them a discount on any of their catering orders.
- When trying to obtain a new customer and there is a price objection, you could offer to reduce the price in exchange for a referral or an endorsement letter.
- Display board in your reception area, with the names of customers who have referred work to you in order to encourage others to do so.
How We Can Help You
At Accotax – East London Accountants, Chartered Accountants Ilford, We can advise on suitable referral systems for your business. We can also refer business to you when the right opportunity arises and welcome referrals from you!