Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 Quick Ways to Get More Referrals

I like referrals. Do you?

When one happy client brings another into your service business, it's like "found" money. Or manna from heaven. Or money from heaven. Whatever.

Here are 3 quick ways to simulate your personal economy by stimulating more referrals ...

1. Listen for referral signals in your dealings with clients (and non-clients)
Phrases like: “I have a friend who’s looking for something like this” or “I’m so glad I found you!” are an easy tip-off that somebody wants to tell others about you.

When you hear those signals, start a conversation: “Thanks for saying that! Who else do you know who might want an outcome like this?” Then, ask for permission to contact that person.

If you really believe in your service, you won’t be pestering people, you’ll be helping them. 

(And if you do think you’re pestering, it means you don’t think highly enough of what you do to deserve referrals. Change how you feel, change what you do, or change how you do it -- fast.)

2. Observe the 80/20 Rule 

If 80% of your referrals come from 20% of your clients -- and they will -- segment this group of very important persons in your database.

Cater to this vital 20%. Pamper them, make them feel special. They’ll return the favor with continued referrals.

In my first business writing resumes years ago, all clients who referred 3 or more people gained instant membership in my VIP Club. They got something extra -- a magazine subscription -- in addition to the $10 checks I mailed them for each new client. My VIP clients were reminded of my business every month for a year ... which produced more referrals, which produced more clients like my best clients. Win-win.

3. Under-promise and over-deliver

Exceptional service is rare. Companies like Zappos get many millions of dollars in “found” revenue because their customers refer friends and family. Ask yourself, “Would I enjoy doing business with me?” If the honest answer is anything other than a loud YES, you have work to do.

An easy way to exceed expectations is to under-promise and over-deliver. Examples: 
  • Offer free shipping upgrades (like Zappos).
  • Give customers a deadline of Friday, then do it by Thursday (I did this for years, to great effect).
  • Email clients a bonus report that helps them use your product or service (I did this, too).
Anything you do to surprise and delight clients can lead to referrals.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

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