Positive word of mouth is one of the most coveted outcomes of great products and service. It is also possibly the best thing that can happen to any business. A good reputation generates referrals—the most profitable leads that a business can receive. Clients acquired through referrals are more loyal, easier to close, more cost-efficient; and in turn are often the ones to give you even more referrals.
Consumers today trust a personal recommendation over traditional advertising, brochure, website, or other company communications. According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), two‐thirds of all economic activity in the United States is influenced by shared opinions about a product, brand or service. Yet according to eMarketer, a leading website on digital marketing and media research and analysis, only 18% of businesses have an organized referral program in place.
While most of us inherently understand the benefits of having our clients refer their friends, family, and colleagues, we simply fail to actively make it part of our marketing plan – and realize that earning and acquiring referrals requires a systematic approach. Here are 3 simple ideas to add a referral system to your business:
- Put “Referrals” on your meeting agenda. That way, you won’t forget to address them – even just briefly in your client meetings.
- Answer the question, “Who Cares?” When you describe your firm, make sure you’re talking in terms of benefits to the customer, and not simply offering a laundry list of services. Benefits affect people. Your proposed and perceived benefits, not your products or services, will be what is remembered and passed along.
- Schedule a referral appreciation event. This is an event only for those who have already introduced you to others during a specified period of time “Don’t Miss The Boat.” It is in stark contrast to the often ineffective client appreciation events where you hope your clients will bring a friend and often don’t.
The key is focus. Anything you focus on actively in your business will certainly have more results than if you didn’t!