Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Going after referrals

     Free daily tips, information, advice, and ideas,
     with examples from small businesses.

     Business owners know the value of referrals. When someone is referred to you, they arrive pretty much open to your products/services.

     They show up on someone else's recommendation. Referrals come to you because some third party has told them something good about you.

     Referrals are a natural part of human interaction. We talk to each other, and we talk about each other. We want to share with others our thoughts, feelings, ideas.

     Social media like Twitter and Facebook provide a mechanism for these interactions. But there are some other ways you can promote referrals in your small business.

     Example: Mary is a nutritionist. To connect with new clients, she regularly gives informational talks and sessions at wellness centers, senior centers, organizational meetings and other venues. She take lots of questions, makes future appointments, and hands out literature. All this results in people subsequently talking about her in the community and referrals come in. These activities speed up a naturally-occurring process, and they are in addition to her Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

     Example: Ralph is an electrician. He works alone, carrying his tools and equipment with him to jobs in his van. He targets homeowners and small businesses, handling their electrical problems and needs. Every time he finished a job, Ralph meets with the customer, explaining the work and answering any questions before presenting the bill. Then, he hands the customer a half-dozen business cards asking that they hand them out to friends, neighbors, and other business owners. It's a simple process, but it has worked for Ralph. People who receive his business cards call with jobs to be done.

     Example: Eric takes a more aggressive approach to getting referrals. He is an interior designer handling residential and commercial clients. When he finishes an assignment, he asks for referrals and frequently receives a couple on the spot. Then, in about three months, he calls the client again, asks if there's anything else he might do for them, and, again, asks for referrals. Not only does this provide client follow-up, but it results in more referrals. He also maintains relationships with several real estate agents who pass on to him referrals of new people moving into the area.

     These examples show how some older methods can help you get more referrals. There's more to life than Facebook and Twitter. Use them, but don't neglect some opportunities that have worked well in the past.

     You'll find other ways of going after referrals scattered throughout these write-ups. Referrals are an important part of your on-going business promotions.  

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