I don’t know about you but if done right, getting referrals from satisfied customers in my book is the #1 way of connecting with new and qualified prospects… period!
Why? Well think about it… Whose advice would you take about buying something? Someone you may not know trying to sell you something or someone you know, like, and trust who just had an amazing buying experience and feels strongly that you’d be crazy not to purchase as well.
This kind of referral is powerful! And as a matter of fact, it should be a goal of yours to get at least three of these from every customer you serve.
I have to warn you though… these types of referrals don’t come easy. You have to earn them. How? Well here are three tips to help you do just that.
➊ Set the Expectation Up Front
Make it a condition of doing business together that if you do what you said you would do and they are thrilled with your work… not just happy… but thrilled with it… that in exchange they will refer you to at least three people that you may be able to serve in this manner as well.
Another possibility could be to provide separate prices for your product or service. The first one is the full price for your product or service. And the second one is a discounted price based on their agreement to provide at least three qualified referrals by project’s end.
Either way it may help you to help them understand that this is how you get your customers and that this approach allows you to keep your marketing costs down… and that savings can get passed onto them.
➋ Always Under-promise and Over-Deliver
Yes, you may have heard this one before, however since I run into small businesses all the time not adhering to it I felt it should be addressed.
You want the referrals… you’ve got to blow your customers away. Don’t make the mistake that many inexperienced salespeople make of giving up the farm in initial negotiations just to get the deal. Make sure you hold some gold back that you can unexpectedly throw them as a bonus. Here are a few ideas for this:
- Refund them the difference if you were able to save them a few dollars on any product purchases you made on their behalf. For example, “Hey I was able to negotiate a better price for you on the widgets we will be using on this project, so here’s a refund check for the difference… enjoy”… How cool would that be!
- Throw in some training to help them use the solution you delivered more effectively.
- Or how about making a follow-up phone call a week or so after the transaction is complete to ensure they are still thrilled with the purchase.
➌ Hold Them Accountable
Hey if you did what you said you would do and more, then it’s their turn to do what they said they would… refer you some business. Now do yourself a favor here and don’t let them off the hook so easily… work with them to collect your referrals. If they’re unwilling to refer, find out why. Maybe they’re not as happy with you as you thought. You can’t fix it if you don’t know what it is.
For projects that are more than just a simple one-time transaction, it may make sense to prod them periodically along the way to ensure they focus on not only referring you, but referring you perfect prospects.
So in closing, remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So ask because it simply is the easiest and most lucrative way to grow your business.