It is no secret that “word of mouth” or referral business is one of the most effective ways to bring in new clients while strengthening relationships with your existing customer base. But even though it is compelling and virtually free (or, at most, costs very little), very few business owners or coaches use it anywhere near its potential!
Consider this: if you got just one referral from each of your clients, over the next 60 days, you’d double your client base! What would that mean to your potential income, and how many more people would you be helping in supportive and uplifting ways?
So, how do you maximize word of mouth in your business? Here are 5 Steps you can start to take right now…
1. Appreciate your clients and let them know consistently that you value them
This is the most important yet overlooked element of creating endless referrals. Many businesses focus more on profits than on people. Focusing on profits alone can be detrimental to success, and ‘Word of Mouth’ success comes from looking beyond just profit into how you can enrich your customers’ lives.
Action: At least once a month, take the time to communicate with your clients and show them you appreciate them. Send them something of value, unexpected, a bonus report, or special news you just found. Make it relevant to them and do it regularly.
2. Create an exceptional experience each time they deal with you or your company
If you can make doing business with you an exceptional experience, your clients will want to tell many people. People want to have unique experiences!
For example, a Life Coach has a special relationship with a city coffee shop. Once every eight weeks, he invites his in-person clients to a ‘brain trust’ meeting, and the coffee and cake are on the house. Every client that attends gets a card and a voucher from the coffee shop owner to say, ‘Thank you for joining us today; we would love to see you again soon’. The voucher is a ‘buy one get one free’ coffee voucher. So, they are encouraged to come back again. And because the coffee shop owner is exposing his business to potential new clients, the coach pays just the cost of the coffee and cake his clients eat. Typically, about eight clients attend, and the price is around £30-£40. Just a little extra touch can make dealing with your business that much more of an exceptional experience!
Action: What can you do now to add little things that make an exceptional experience in your business?
You could use the above example or network with other professionals while providing fantastic value to your clients.
Remember, it’s never too late to start creating exceptional client experiences.
3. Give your customers incentives for giving you referrals.
If you’re being passive about referrals, you’re sitting on a gold mine. Create ways of rewarding your clients for referring business to you.
For example, they could receive gifts, such as a 90-minute coaching session with you, a certificate for a massage or a nice dinner, or perhaps even a financial reward (i.e., £50 Amazon gift card). Regardless of what you choose, the key is making sure that whatever you decide to offer is something that your client will be attracted to!
Action: Reward your clients for referring people to you. Design rewards that will be beneficial to your clients.
For example, if you work with clients who routinely use equipment in their work or enjoy shopping, an Amazon gift card might be a very motivating reward! If you are stumped on a gift idea, remember that money can also a great motivator!
4. Make it easy for clients to give you referrals
If you want many referrals, you must make it incredibly easy for your clients to tell their friends. Don’t expect them to go way out of the way to help you grow your business. Make it as simple as possible.
Action: Develop a ‘referral package’ you give your clients. Ask your clients to be an ambassador for your business as you wish to work with people like them. The package would include a professionally designed document explaining why referrals are important to you, and a series of referral cards/ invites/ links that your client can easily share with others and post to their social media accounts. Always present everything professionally to increase the perceived value of your offer/ services and put your best foot forward with your new potential clients!
5. Ask at the right time!
When is the best time to ask for referrals?
Any time! If you have followed the steps listed above… you’ve let clients know they are appreciated, you have consistently given them an exceptional experience, provided an enticing incentive to share your message with friends, and made it incredibly easy for them to do so. At this point, you should not only be able to ask your clients for referrals at any time, but you should also receive very positive results from it as well!
Action: The key is to do something now. Draft up an email today and send it to your clients, letting them know how much you value them and have enjoyed working with them in the past. Include something that will be helpful or provide some value to them. Then over the next 4 to 6 weeks, develop your ‘referral package’ and use it. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and act...
Your business and new referral clients will thank you for it!