In the initial stages, you can feel like your company is teetering on the edge — and you have the pressure of needing new customers to keep the business running and growing. Word of mouth is often the most powerful tool to get new clients. The problem is that sometimes we let it loose without direction, hoping for the best and not even asking for referrals.
This quick guide will share how creating a simple referrals strategy can support the maintenance and growth of your business:
The first step is asking if your company is referable — you must be reliable and deliver excellent services and quality to fit that term. Next, ask yourself: “Am I confident about my closest friends, family, or even myself using these services or products?” Consistency is vital when fulfilling our prospects’ expectations in the attraction stage. Some indicators of “referability” are:
- Brand awareness plan
- Easy billing practices/system
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Communication with clients on their terms
- Self-promoting content
- Respect for your clients’ time
There are three main reasons why businesses do not ask for referrals:
- They haven’t provided enough value.
- They don’t want to hurt the relationship with this new client.
- They are afraid to look unprofessional or needy.
We can solve all these cases if we know the benefits we will provide to the referrals and have gained our customers’ trust. Therefore, we will get referrals only if we deserve them.
Referral connections deepen the client’s commitment to your business, increasing our Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) by extending their relationship with us and their spending activity.
After making sure your business is referable, the big question is how to ask for referrals.
Most companies ask for referrals as people ask for a Starbucks before their morning coffee: no smile, zero excitement.
Asking, “Do you know anyone who needs X, Y, Z services or products?” won’t get you anywhere. So instead, I recommend telling an exciting story that transforms challenges and adversities into memorable anecdotes and puts you and your business in the spotlight. Facts tell, but stories sell!
Capture people’s attention, inspire them, and build emotional connections. The easiest way to create this is by giving out information, allowing you to control the story being told about you while being helpful to the person receiving it.
Another way to be more referable is by embracing your customer voice through testimonials. Inviting your clients to write reviews describing their experience working with you makes a huge difference: Google is usually the most powerful channel. You should help your customers write honest reviews by asking open questions about their experiences. For example, what was it like before and after you had our service? What made you happiest about working with our company?
Those questions can guide your reviews to be more relevant and provide insights from satisfied customers to curious visitors. Then, you can share those reviews on your website and social media channels.
If you want your business to be more referable, you should also build bridges for new relationships and contacts. Both parties benefit from it; you are not only providing value through your services but also your connections. Moreover, you receive what you give. Most customers are more likely to refer your services to relatives and friends if you are also looking for opportunities to recommend their high-quality services.
Finally, let your clients know in an early stage that you will ask for referrals when the relationship is more solid and how important they are for small businesses growth. Use all kinds of events to create referral opportunities like seminars, parties, webinars, and social media channels.
When we connect to new businesses through referrals, there is less pressure and barriers because somebody you trust has recommended somebody else they trust. That is what we are looking for! It is there that a solid opportunity to grow is waiting for us to take advantage of it. So, build your referral strategy tailored to your business and industry today!