How to Generate More Referrals For Your Business

Do you get word of mouth for your business?

For many business owners when they say “My business is word of mouth.”  what they mean is they do a really good job.  And they are hoping that their customers realise this and that one day it will lead to more business. And every now and then, they do get a referral from doing a great job.

Not to undermine this.  But what if instead of being reactive and hoping, you started to be proactive and drove the referral flow into your business?

Imagine what would happen if you started asking every single one of your customers for a referral?

If every one of them referred just one person over the next 12 months – you would double your business!

And best of all people usually refer people like themself. So if your great customers are referring, it means it’s going to bring more great customers to your business.

So rather than letting referrals happen by chance, here’s 3 things that can help you generate more word of mouth referrals…

1) Under Promise and Over Deliver

The first one is to under promise and overdeliver.  For example, if you know that you can do your quote in two days, promise your customer three and deliver it in two.

Too many businesses do the opposite – they promise things and don’t deliver. They say, I’ll get you the quote tomorrow, and then it’s there a week later. That sets the business up to fail. So if you can under promise and over deliver it’s going to make your business stand out.  You are putting deposits into your customer’s emotional bank account and they’re going to think, “wow, this is a great business to deal with”… and they are more likely to refer.

The other way to over deliver is to add value to the customer experience. For example, a mechanic I worked with would vacuum and detail the car with each service.  He also put a handwritten note on their seat that read ‘Here’s a couple of minties to enjoy on the way home. Be careful not to throw the wrapper on the floor because we’ve just vacuumed it for you. Thanks again for trusting us to look after your car.’ He gave that little bit extra, which was a bit of a wow factor that delivered more than was originally promised.

2) Ask for the Referral

The second one, (and a pretty obvious one), is to actually take the time to ask. Be proactive.

Too often we are just waiting for word of mouth to happen. What if you started asking for referrals?

Your customer may say something positive about the work you have just done.  This is the moment to say, “Look, I appreciate that you liked the work that we did. We are a referral based business, is there anyone else that you know that could use our services in the way that you have?”

And this gets them thinking, it is a proactive approach. And nine times out of ten you’re going to get more referral business than if you said nothing at all.  Your business will grow. And this is the point of the proactive approach.

So next time you do a great job for a customer or client, ask them who else do they know would benefit from something like this?

3) Make it Easy for Your Customers to Refer

The third one is how can you make it easy for your customers to refer? This is about equipping your customers with tools that they can use to invite their family and friends.

For example, a hairdresser could have a $20 gift cheque for someone to pass onto their friends. It’s like giving away money.  The friend gets a $20 benefit and the hairdresser could also offer the person referring $20 off too.  It’s win:win.  And best of all it gives a really good reason for someone to talk to their friends about the business.

Another example is offering free tickets to an event.  Like a home theatre company we worked with.  They had an open night where they were showcasing their latest home theatres.  They put on some nibblies and drinks and part of their strategy was everyone could bring a friend.  This was a low risk offer as they were offering their friend free food and drinks and a fun night out.  And was a great way to introduce the home theatre business…  and really encourage proactive word of mouth referrals.

So think about what tools you could equip your customers with that will help them refer your business to other people.

Every business can benefit from more referrals.  So to generate more word of mouth referrals, work out how you can:

  1. Under promise and over deliver in your business
  2. Increase the points you can ask for referrals in your business
  3. Make it easier for your customers to refer you

Just keep adding one referral strategy at a time.  By building more and more referral strategies into your business you will be increase your flow of leads, and you’ll grow your business.

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