Picture the following two scenarios …
Would-be-customer Bob is driving to work when he hears your advertisement come on the radio. The pleasant voice-over you hired tells Bob about you and your business, your extensive product knowledge, your fabulous selection and your first-rate customer service. Bob needs what you sell. But Bob does nothing.
Would-be-customer Bob is talking to his friend over lunch one day. His friend tells Bob about you and your business, your extensive product knowledge, your fabulous selection and your first-rate customer service. Bob needs what you sell. Bob becomes your customer.
What’s the difference?
When your next would-be customer hears about you from someone they knows and trust, they’re more likely to take action than if they learn about you through your own promotions.
Why? Because referrals give you immense credibility.
In fact, ask any local business owner, and they’ll tell you most of their business comes from the referrals of happy customers. Referrals are the lifeblood of local businesses like your own.
Don’t worry, you’re going to learn the easiest ways to encourage referrals for your local business in a minute.
But first things first.
If you’re ever going to get the referrals you want, your local business must be one thing: remarkable.
As in, you have to give people a reason to talk about you. No one goes out of their way to refer friends and family to mediocre businesses.
If you don’t know what makes you remarkable, spend some time figuring it out. And if you realize it’s nothing, make something remarkable.
Businesses that aren’t remarkable will not survive.
Now 5 simple strategies to spread the word about your “remarkableness” and generate a steady stream of referrals in your local business.
- Make it EASY for customers to refer. This is especially important if your product or service isn’t easily explained. Be sure anyone excited to refer has a place to send their family and friends to learn more about you. See #4.
- Make heroes of customers who refer. People are largely recognition starved and will appreciate you when you give it to them. Give special treatment to people who refer by highlighting them in your newsletter or acknowledging a customer/client of the month. Anything that lets them (and others) know that referrals don’t go unnoticed.
- Incentivise referrals. Create special reward programs for customers who refer, and advertise it to your existing customers and clients. For example, an oral surgeon in my area gives patients who refer $50. To spread the word, he includes imitation 50-dollar bills in his new-patient and out-patient packets with a summary of the reward program on the back.
- Highlight customer testimonials on your website. Videos are best for this strategy, but written testimonials will work as well. Designate a place on your website where prospect will see video after video of local people talking about what they love about you and your business. It’s like having your best “referrer” working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Prove you care. Do you or your employees have downtime? Make personal, follow-up phone calls to your existing customers and clients. That extra touch goes a long way and makes your customers dramatically more likely to refer.