By Veronika Noize, the Marketing Coach
If your clients don't to refer to you, does that mean you're not as good as you think you are?
Unfortunately, your clients might not refer to you, no matter how terrific you are. Some people just don't feel comfortable recommending products or services to others, for fear of implying a need where there isn't one, or they have concerns about breaching confidentiality. Others are afraid that a referral carries responsibility, worrying that they'll be responsible for any disappointments.
But most people don't refer because they simply don't know how, or it doesn't occur to them.
Some entrepreneurs believe that paying for referrals is important, but I have yet to meet anyone who felt comfortable accepting a check for a referral (other than a minimal affiliate fee). For me, a check feels more like a bribe than a reward, and I refer because I think the person I'm referring will benefit, and not as a revenue stream.
Here are a few ways to encourage referrals from even the most cautious client:
- Teach your clients to refer to you by having Team 100 meetings in which you clearly explain how to recognize a good referral for you, and how to refer to you. For example, if anyone is kind enough to refer to me, I suggest that they mention my web site, so that the referred can get a feel for my style and services. Then if the referred calls me, I know that she's ready to buy, and the referrer can rest easy knowing she's done her best by both of us.
- Give your clients something of real value to offer to their friends and colleagues, such as a gift certificate. Once you offer something valuable like that, not sharing seems selfish. When I give certificates, I give two: one for the client, and one for a friend, so everybody's a winner.
- Allow your clients to "gently" refer. Host a customer appreciation event, and ask your clients to bring two friends who might benefit from whatever program you are offering. Then recognize your clients at the event, making them feel valued, and important. Their friends will be impressed, and you'll have plenty of gently referred new prospects.
- Thank your clients. I sent a letter thanking a client for being so terrific, and detailed what I appreciated about her. This was not a form letter, but a sincere letter (not a note) of appreciation. The result? She told dozens of her colleagues, who were so impressed that they visited my web site to check me out. And yes, some did become clients.
- Stay in touch with your clients. Call them, email them, send them something in the mail, just stay in touch! Let them know you are thinking of them, and they'll think good thoughts about you. And while they're thinking of you, referrals may follow.
- And finally, the very best way to get referrals is to thrill your clients. After taking my picture for the cover of my new book, the photographer made me a stack of her business cards with my photo on them, so that I could let my friends know who took the fabulous photo. You can bet she got referrals by the dozen from me!
How to Boost Your Referrals © 2007 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.