Monday, August 10, 2015

When referrals drop off

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     to help you better manage your small business. 

     Every small business owner knows the value of referrals. Referrals come to your business on another's recommendation. 

     When you notice a drop-off in the number of referrals you are getting, you need to take action. It's not something to ignore and simply hope for better economic times. It won't pass by itself. 

    Good business people do not blame other people or other situations for their problems. They go to work to solve their problems. 

     Example: Dean is a fitness expert and personal trainer. When he began his business, he got lots of referrals. His clients recommended others to his services, and he signed up new clients. Six months in, however, he noticed that referrals were few and far between. New people were not calling him or showing up. Looking at the situation, Dean realized that his clients had told everyone they knew about him and his programs. He had exhausted their circle of friends. To break out into new circles of people, Dean mounted a social media campaign. He solicited testimonials from his current clients, got their permission to use their words, and began posting on his new Facebook page. It paid off. New people called and became clients. More importantly, Dean broke into new circles of people interested in his services. 

     Example: Ellen runs a small coffee shop. She attracts local people to her breakfasts and lunches--no dinners. It took a couple of years to get established and become the go-to place for a local clientele. Ellen began to notice that it was the same crowd that showed up every day and that some of them seemed to be drifting away--they didn't come as often as they had done before. She looked at the staff, the cook, the service, and the cashier--and she found two problems. The cashier was so busy texting or talking on her phone that a line formed--waiting to pay the bill. And serving meals promptly was so lax that the meal was cold when delivered to customers. Ellen replaced the cashier and a waiter, neither one of whom understood the basics of customer service. 

     Using social media to reach out to more circles of friends can improve your business with more referrals. And seeing to customer service, and improving it, can do the same.

     When referrals drop off, see to your operation. You'll more than likely find that the fault lies with you. Keep those referrals coming.