If you want to dramatically increase referrals, you need to radically redefine what referrals are: A customer referral is an opportunity to celebrate and show deeper appreciation to your current customers. Once you can accept this new thinking, you’ll see happier current customers and more new ones.

1. Earn the referral.

It’s obvious, but it so often gets overlooked. If you want a customer to refer you, make them happy, and give them value. Make that your focus, and ensure that you’re doing this instead of just asking them over and over for referrals. If they’re happy, sometimes you don’t even have to ask.

2. Offer help.

When you’re just looking for business leads, you ask your customers to give you a referral because it helps you. When you believe that your service truly helps your customers’ businesses succeed, you want to offer your services to help their friends’ businesses because it truly will help those businesses.

3. Commit

It’s a big deal for someone to refer a friend. They’re putting themselves on the line for you and spending some social capital. They don’t want to hear a quick, “thanks,” knowing that their friend is now a new entry in your CRM with sales people ready to pounce. They need to know that you’ll genuinely explore whether your service is the right solution at the right time for their friend and that if they become a customer, you’ll bring your “A” game and make sure they have a great experience.

4. Give thanks.

This is the heart of it. Remember, a referral is not simply a sales lead. A referral is a huge vote of confidence from a customer and the ultimate validation that you are truly providing value to their business. When you get a referral, your whole company should pause and celebrate the accomplishment. At that moment, your customer is saying that what your company and your team provides is of great value to their business. Take the time to reach out to the customer, and have others on your team do so. Let them know that you appreciate their support and belief in you, and that the whole company is appreciative of it as well.

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