Free daily advice for people in small business
from someone who has been there, done that.
Referrals bring in the best new clients and customers. No matter your business, you love it when a referral shows up.
The reason has to do with your reputation. Some existing client or customer has talked about you and your business to another person. And the talk must have been in glowing terms.
It's the whole reason that Angie's List works. There, people write up their experiences with dentists, landscapers, plumbers, and other community businesses. These recommendations by others set your mind at ease, and you make the call.
Referrals are a natural extension of human interaction. When you've had a good experience with a local cabinet maker, you want to share that with friends and neighbors. You discuss it in a conversation, and that person is now more likely to call the cabinet maker you reported on.
So, referrals naturally take place. The problem for the small business becomes How do you promote the referral process?
I have personally used a method to great success in promoting the referral process. It is not original with me, but I explored and refined the process over dozens of years.
Basically, you keep a running list of contact information for your present clients and customers. This can be phone numbers and/or email addresses.
Once every three months or so, make it a point to contact each individually. If you can meet personally, it's even better. Current clients and customers represent a gold mine of new business.
When you make these contacts, ask for three referrals--other people's names and contact information. Ask if you can use your client's or customer's name when you contact these referrals. I have found that people gladly give their permission.
Then you call or email or personally see each of the referrals. Tell them who referred them. Ask if you can send them more information.
This is not the time for a hard sell. It's soft and fuzzy. It's based on that third party who got you two together, and you are going in on that third party's reputation.
You're expanding your circle of business friends. It might result in future business for you, or it might not. Sometimes, I've found that the referral did not become a customer, but that they in turn referred someone else who did.
In any case, you will be increasing (and enhancing) your reputation in the community you serve. I used this method for many years before Angie's List arrived on the scene. When you put this method to work in your business, you will be developing your very own Angie's List.
Questions? Email me direct at AlWarr16@gmail.com and put BLOG in the subject line.
I am retired now, and I am not selling anything. Your privacy is always respected.