Referral Rush

How to set-up a Client Referral System in 5 Simple Steps

There’s a number of ways out there to promote or grow your business but I have a few favourites I believe every business should employ and one of them is Referral Marketing.

Pretty much any small-to-medium business expert, advisor, coach, or consultant I have spoken to has shared that word of mouth referrals are the number one or the main way they get more clients.

And it’s not surprising as receiving business by referral is the most cost-efficient marketing strategy you can use, its high leverage and you can see the results instantly. But what is surprising to me is when I ask any of my new clients or business owners I meet at an event or the like, what they purposefully do to generate referrals…I literally get a blank stare.

So, why, if word of mouth referrals are the # 1 marketing strategy and way businesses get more clients, doesn’t every business jump on the bandwagon and proactively use this tool to increase their leads?

The answer is simple they…

1) don’t know how to set it up and

2) Fear– fear of rejection, fear that they don’t deserve referrals, fear they may look desperate.

To get rid of all that stuff that comes up and create a rush of referrals to your business you need a system and some self-belief. Something to remember is people love to give referrals so why not make it easy for them – I know when I get great service or buy a product that I love I can’t wait to tell my friends about it – I might even be so satisfied that I leave a review! Your clients are no different.

There are 5 key steps to creating a referral system for your business…

  1. Identify Your Referral Targets
    There are two key sources to draw upon for referrals:
    1. Existing clients (target those you believe to be your best clients).
    2. Targeted network of professionals.
  2. Get Their Interest
    1. Make it easy for people to refer.
      • Provide referral postcards.
      • A supply of business cards.
      • Pens with your company logo & web address.
    2. Reward your sources
      • Chance to win offer.
      • $ value discount “Earn your fees back”.
      • Free product or service.
  3. Provide an Offer Their Contacts Can’t Refuse
    • Offer Special Pricing (I particularly love “Do you want the normal price or referral price?” strategy).
    • Offer a trial service.
    • Give away gift certificates – give gift certificated to the best clients to pass on.
    • An interesting one that’s becoming more popular is helping a worthy cause – whereby you would donate a % of business acquired via referral to a non-profit agency/
  4. Guarantee exceptional service
    • So your clients will shout about you and come back for more.
    • This will come naturally as when you have a referral system in place it subconsciously makes you better and you will provide exceptional service.
  5. Follow up!
    • Let your referral sources know how it went.
    • Thank them.

A few examples for you to get your creative ideas flowing:

1) Dentist
Created what he calls compliment cards – Every time a client gives a compliment, like, “that didn’t hurt at all” someone on his staff is ready with a referral card. The staff also emphasise that the only way they work is by referral.

2) Marketing Coach
Contacted a bank and an accounting firm that both had small business clients and offered to put on a free 2-hour marketing seminar for their clients. The bank and the accounting firm invited the guests and provided the space and refreshments. The marketing coach provided the seminar content. The bank and accounting firm liked the idea of doing something for their clients but the twist that really made this work was that the bank and accounting firm saw it as an opportunity to meet each other’s clients and perhaps get some good exposure to prospective customers. The marketing coach also got to showcase their expertise and sell their services.

3) Computer Repair
This company simply asked for referrals every time they marketed or communicated with their clients in any manner. They created a big rubber stamp that said “We crave referrals” and stamped that sentiment on every piece of mail that left the place.

Invoices, marketing pieces, newsletters, training manuals, work orders…you name it. By putting that message in front of their clients and prospects constantly they began to receive referrals from many different places.

Don’t be afraid to give people a ‘taster’ of your service. If you are great at what you do, you need to invite people to realise that so they can become regular clients. Most people like to try before they buy. It’s a great way to get people through the door and start building more relationships.

So think about how you can implement the above strategies in your own business, whether you are starting out or have been running for a few years. And remember, keep it simple!

Thank you as always for reading. 

Here’s to your success!


P.S. If you’d like to discover your current stage of business + what you need to focus on to get the business growth you’re looking for, then take my free Business Essentials Quiz here.

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