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Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Powerful Referrals
Would you visit a hairdresser without a recommendation from a good friend? How about having someone doing your taxes? According to a recent Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online, 82 percent of Americans said they seek suggestions when making any type of purchase. For service specialists like hairdressers, accountants, and so on, referrals are key to producing both business and revenue.
Word-of-mouth referrals from individuals who know and love your work is a powerful and inexpensive method to build trust and attract clients as well. So, how do you harness the power of your customers to building up your business? Let’s consider the five cornerstones of Word-of-Mouth marketing:
- Offer added worth.
- Motivate people to spread the word.
- Ask for referrals.
- Invest in a referral incentive.
- Referrals needs to be celebrated.
Start with a great product or service.
The best services and products benefit from the most organic word-of-mouth. When you have something that people desire or say great things about, others are going to want check to see what it’s all about. Providing worth to customers is a must, but going above and beyond really makes the difference.
Some business owners make the error of being too transnational or narrow as they’re closing a sale. Boost your referral chances by giving outstanding service to your present prospects and clients from the very beginning to the completion of your services.
Ask good questions, share good info. Make it in a manner that makes the sale and makes you refer-able simultaneously. For instance, rather than just reorganizing a customer’s closet, ask why they need a reorganization and what they want the new system to accomplish for them. If you’re an insurance agent, explain why you’re recommending certain items and how it’ll protect your client. This approach enables you to connect to customers on a far more personal level and provide greater value, which in turn enables you to be more refer-able. Personal recommendations go much further than any advertisement.
Motivate people to spread the word.
Current prospects and clients who’ve experienced your work are great referral sources because they are able to speak from first-hand experience, but these aren’t the only people who may refer you. Also if a neighbor or friend of a friend hasn’t tried your personal training or ordered one of your gift baskets, they can still provide a referral. But there can be a challenge. Your customers probably like you and trust you, but they may not be very clear on your worth.
For this reason, it’s your job to make sure these folks understand the advantages of your business as well as your audience to refer you to the proper people, correctly. Explain the types of customers you work with and why. What common goals or pain points do your customers have and how will you solve those pain factors for them?
Ask for referrals.
Some business owners rarely get referrals because they’re too shy to ask, or they ask in ways that’s too vague. Questions like, “Who do you know that we may help?” or “Who else ought to know about us?” don’t generally get results. The goal in requesting referrals is to recommend an introduction to someone else you know. For example, if you’re linked with somebody on LinkedIn, you can check what connections might benefit you and inquire for a contact email or in-person introduction. People are much more likely to take action on a particular request when compared to a vague one since it eliminates the guesswork for them.
Your relationship with your customers ought to be mutually beneficial; that’s why the optimum time to ask for a referral is normally after you’ve exceeded their expectations. Perhaps you’ve simply catered a corporate party as well as your client is normally thrilled with the response, or you’ve just redecorated a client’s living area and they’re filled with gratitude over the transformation. While you’re fresh within their minds, that’s the opportune time to thank them for using your services and ask for them to promote your business. Certain methods to do this include:
- Leave some of your business cards with your client to hand out to friends who say great things about the event.
- Ask your customer to post an image of your event on Facebook or other social media and tag your business.
- Ask your customer to write a testimonial online.
- Inquire about friends or neighbors who may be interested in your product or service.
It’s hard to openly ask customers for referrals particularly when you’re a small business, because it may feel like you’re boasting about yourself. If customers really like your service or product, they shouldn’t mind at all, so don’t avoid this valuable opportunity.
Invest in a referral incentive.
Depending on your business nature, you might decide to provide a referral incentive. This is most effective when both the new customer and the person referring you get the incentive. For example, gyms frequently give current members a free month or various other incentive for attracting new members, as the new member could get their first month free of charge or a reduced initiation fee. Referral incentives you can consider are:
- A percentage off discount
- A free gift to customers that bring in more referrals
- Special access like free delivery or shipping, a special invitation to an event or an initial look at a new service or product.
Of course, despite having a juicy reward, you still need to provide worth and make certain you’re regarded as refer-able. Otherwise, no incentive will be enticing enough for someone to recommend you, because a poor referral could reflect badly on them. In order for clients to recommend you, they have to genuinely believe in the fantastic value and services you provide, or the referral will probably fall flat.
Referrals needs to be celebrated.
Even though you might not give a referral incentive, make certain to thank individuals who recommend you and make it known. Include this message on your outgoing voicemail: “Please leave a message at the tone, and if you’re referred to us, please tell us whom to thank.” This can be the first conversation a fresh prospect has with your business, and it transmits the message from the beginning that you welcome and appreciate referrals. Some business owners include the phrase “We welcome referrals” in their email signature.
By creating a culture of providing worth and celebrating referrals, you position your business as worthy of repeat clients and a reliable stream of referrals that will help sustain you over the future.