An overwhelming majority of successful business owners will tell you flat out that obtaining referrals is the most powerful tactic for attracting new customers. They’ll add that your best source of new customers are old customers. And all you’ve got to do is ask them. Simply review your customer list and your list of contacts, then ask these good people to recommend you to others. Testimonials are nearly as good as money in the bank, but referrals really are money in the bank. To get the most, make it easy for people to give you referrals. One technique is to send them an email asking for the names of three people who might benefit from hearing from you. By keeping the number down to three, it will not be a daunting task for them to furnish names and email addresses to you. By doing it by email, you’ll cut out the expense and cut down on the time you need to devote to this. Everyone who works for you should be trained in asking for referrals. They should say something like, “We’re able to keep our prices in line by getting customer referrals rather than relying on expensive advertising. We’d be deeply appreciative if you could give us the names of just three people who you feel should be added to our mailing list.” The leads that convert to sales at the highest percentage are referrals from current customers. As a guerrilla, you treat these people right, so they’ll want to help you.
A referral program is a simply system that is set up for you to send letters asking for referrals automatically and on a regular basis — about twice a year. Thank those people who supply then. No other gift is necessary. I once participated in a teleconference with 300 chiropractors. We asked how many of them got 50 percent of their business from referrals and 100 of them did. We asked how many got 80 percent or more from referrals and only three did. When we asked how they did it, they told us that all their employees asked for referrals. Even the telephone operator was involved. When a person called to make an appointment, she would ask, “Is this only for you or do you also want to make an appointment for some members of your family?” Such an easy question! So many referrals came from it!
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