I’ll wait. Referrals move through your process faster, initially understand the basics about your business, and stay loyal much longer. Why? Because your referral source has already pre-qualified them, and you start the conversation with much more credibility.
So, why do you sit back and hope for these amazing potential customers to come your way?
Most businesses leave it up to luck or act passively, if at all, in getting referrals from existing customers. Great companies who harvest this crop effectively do so with purpose and a clear plan for using existing customer connections to drive new revenue.
This two-part strategy will increase your income through referrals.
Treat referrals as a key component of your marketing plan.
Marketing must create this plan and Sales must execute. Start by creating your ideal customer profile and finding competitive advantages. Then, know where your sales experience delivers value to those who go through the process. Your strategy should spell out exactly how you plan to acquire new business.
From there, ensure that your pursuit of referrals aligns closely with your marketing and sales strategies. Add it to your 10×10 chart of marketing strategies – this will force you to eventually test and measure the effectiveness of your referral acquisition methods.
You won’t get more referrals if you don’t prioritize them in both sales and marketing.
Create your referral acquisition process.
You use a sales process – why wouldn’t you use one for referrals as well?
Here’s a simple process to follow:
Pinpoint: Treat this like prospecting. You should know exactly who in your list of customers would make the best source of quality referrals.
Request: Start the conversation with your clients/customers. Promise them two things: 1) that the conversation with the referral will have value no matter where it goes and 2) that you will not pressure them into buying unless they want to. Commit yourself to the relationship, not the sale.
Prepare: Create an amazing introduction email. Include some sort of collateral or link that breaks down what you do at a high level.
Introduce: Remember – this is a process! Your customers may need several “touch points” before they engage. Play the long game.
Thank: When your client connects you with a great referral, send them a CNE or at least a thankful note.
If you use this process properly, you’ll lay the foundation for a great referral system.
Fire up your sales team.
Usually revenue, net income, and projections dominate your sales meetings. Make each stage of the referral process a priority in your sales measurements so that both you and your salespeople ensure a steady stream of referral prospects.
Just like anything else in your business, referrals will improve if you test, measure, and monitor them. Instead of trying to be the only “go-to” for referrals, coach your sales and leadership team to stay focused on the process, discuss any obstacles they may have, and explain how you will measure success.
Make your measurements a tool for managing the activity – and train your team on how to enhance the process.
Businesses constantly look for that turnkey strategy to acquire new business. Really, they should spend just as much time optimizing current revenue sources such as referrals.
Nothing generates new business more reliably than a consistent campaign to obtain referrals from existing customers. If you want “top of the funnel” leads, get started on this. You can see, however, the importance of dedication to your current connections and the creation of a great system.