Monday, January 31, 2011

Stop Waiting for Clients. Start Buying Them

How much do you pay for new clients now?

To find the answer, divide your monthly or annual marketing costs by the number of new clients you get.

Example: If your only advertising is a $500/month Yellow Pages ad, and you get 10 new clients every month, you are buying clients for $50.

Now ...

How much do you pay for new clients via referrals?

Do you pay nothing at all? Or do you pay less than what you spend to buy clients via the Yellow Pages, etc.

If so ... WHY???

Are you afraid it might seem crass to pay for referrals that turn into clients? Nonsense. If your service is any good, you're doing people a favor by working with them as clients.

Plus, it's not anybody else's job to remember to refer your business to others.

People are more likely to remember to refer you when they stand to gain a reward. This does not mean people are greedy or stupid -- it just means they're busy and selfish, just like you.

The only valid reason not to offer to "buy" clients by paying for referrals is if your clients aren't comfortable profiting by their referral.

So here's the answer, one I learned over 10+ years of paying for referrals: Give them a choice.

Specifically, give people a choice of these three incentives for referring new clients to you:

1. Cash

This incentive appeals to about 40-60% of people, in my experience. It's simple: Offer the highest cash reward you can afford to "buy" a new client -- $20, $50, $1,000. I've happily paid up to $250 for a new client and still come out way ahead in terms of profit.

2. Discount

This appeals to about 30-40% of people, who are not comfortable getting cash back for referrals. Offer to discount their friend's order by the highest amount you can afford, whether it's 20% or even 100% -- a free first order. That can work for you, if your service consistently produces repeat orders from delighted clients.

3. Gift card

After much trial and error, I found about 10% of people don't want cash for themselves and don't want to offer a discount to their friends. But they were very happy to get an Amazon gift card for $25-50 from me. Go figure. But I'm not a psychoanalyst, I'm a businessman. And I had no problem offering this third option.

So: How do you explain this "client buying" referral program to others?

Say this: "I really prefer to help people just like you, so if you found my business helpful and are willing to recommend me to others, I'd like to reward you! For every person you send my way who becomes a client, I'll send you a check for $50, or discount their order by $50, or send you an Amazon gift card for $50 -- your choice!"

This "client buying" budget should have NO limit, by the way.

Because you’re paying only for results. Unlike ads that may or may not work, when you reward someone for sending you a new client, you have a 100% success rate -- a GUARANTEED ROI.

Where else can you find an investment like that?

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

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