7 Unobtrusive Ways to Amass Referrals by Ginger Marks
Referrals, we all know, are the absolute best way to find new customers. Nevertheless, the act of asking for a referral is not a comfortable thing to do for most business owners. It is more likely that a customer who has been referred to us will employ our services or purchase our products within 90 days than a ‘cold customer’ who has come from an outside source.
It’s easier than you think to train your clients to send you referrals. So, without further ado, I offer you seven ideas that you might consider that won’t raise your blood pressure and make your brow furrow.
- At the bottom of your invoice
There’s no other more unobtrusive way to ask for a referral than to put a small note on the bottom of your invoices. A quick sentence such as, “Referrals appreciated” or “Refer a friend” or even “Receive a bonus on all referrals who become customers.” You can even add a time limit to that last one if you wish.
- Offer a valuable item to your most loyal customers
Have you written an article that you know your customers or clients would benefit from reading? Send it on to them. Chances are that if they appreciate your article, they will share it. Be sure to add your bio at the bottom of the article so that the next reader will be able to contact you.
If you aren’t a writer, you might take a clue from Mary Kay and give an extra gift when a certain number of products or services are purchased. If you received such a gift, wouldn’t you share that information with your friends and colleagues so they too might benefit? Another example of how to utilize this referral generator is offering a sale! Sales draw more business, both new and repeat buyers, so well that even the major retailers run them, and they run them often.
- Send a thank you note
A physical thank you card is such an unexpected treat in our digitally adept society that you can be positive that it will be well received by the recipient. Whenever a customer or client sends you a referral lock them in to that habit by sending a handwritten message letting them know how valuable their support of your business is to you.
- Make your contact information prominent on all your communications
You can’t expect any referrals if your customers don’t know how to contact you in the way the prefer. Some will prefer to call and speak to a real person, some will prefer emails, while others may prefer social media. Be sure to add your name, business name, phone, email, and your website, as well as your social media links. Put this information everywhere, on your email signature, all correspondence, invoices,
When you meet a potential customer while you are out and about, ask them for their cell phone number and, immediately send them a text so that your contact info will be programed into their phone. (You’ll have theirs too.)
- Ask for a testimonial review
One of the ways to amass referrals on a permanent basis, is to ask for a testimonial review. If you have a website that has an interactive element, create a testimonial page and allow them to leave their review on it. That makes it possible for even employees of a business that don’t allowed to give referrals to give you an endorsement without giving a direct referral.
- Offer incentives
This is one thing I do that you can do too. A gift card or percentage off deal for referrals are powerful tools to use to build a referral base. As an example, I tell new clients that I offer a 10% bonus on first invoice for every referral. You might consider offering a $50 gift card to a restaurant, coffee shop, or Amazon for every five referrals. That’s $50 for them and five new customers for you!
- Build reciprocal relationships
Referrals are not limited to past or current clients. For example, I partner with other freelance designers who I can send work when a client asks for design help that I can’t fit into my schedule. If you’ve ever had too much work, you could refer a potential client to a fellow freelancer. Often, you will find that there are other services you don’t offer that are an extension of what you do. Rather than trying to add this service, refer it out. Set up a reciprocal referral fee system, so that you give and receive referral bonuses when you send business back and forth. After building these symbiotic relationships, you’ll find you’ll be sending each other referrals all the time. That’s one way to amass referrals.