Thankyou, a simple business strategy anyone can implement that is guaranteed to work. You can see it working here. If you are in a hurry, please click to get an excerpt from my upcoming book: Ta Very Much which contains 39 Client Retention And Referral Strategies. First please allow me to give you a little background.
Years ago I ran a small marketing agency in Newbury, west of London (which grew and grew forcing us to move into central London). When I first started out my method of getting business was to call on likely candidates and set up appointments to meet with them.
Most business owners told me their company “didn’t need to advertise”. Sound familiar? Their customers came back again and again and all the new business they needed came through referrals.
The Shock Of It!
It was always shocking to realise the big difference between what I heard and what I could see when I arrived. Normally I was greeted by indifference by bored staff and told to wait in an empty office. I used to hope that if I was hire to generate clients for them that they would go to them, as you would not want to bring them here.
When I asked how they got the referrals, most would smile and say we wait for them. I would ask if they knew where the referrals came from and how many there were. As no one was tracking the truth was difficult to know. How many they had, how many the got in a month, or where they came from was nearly always all unknown.
Suitable For Retail & B2B, Large & Small
They would tell me what they knew. Restauranteurs would tell me that their customers would drive a long way to get to them. I knew that this really meant that these were probably customers who just stopped at the first place they could see. There was no customer loyalty in play.
Business to business firms would always tell their customers bought #1 due to price followed by something that was unique to them. Not a clue.
This two types of answers told me that these business owners had no concept of customer service and were leaving a lot of money on the table. I mean a lot. They were not trying to sell more to their most likely prospects and they were not asking for referrals.
Quite often, as a result I was able to negotiate a part retainer and profit share deal with them. This was very profitable and pretty easy work.
Are You Right But Wrong?
Those who did have a referral program in place would generally get it wrong. Incentives were offered, payable only when a new client was introduced.
This is not a very effective way of getting new business if you think of it from the introducers perspective. You are asking someone you don’t know very well to put their reputation on the line before recommending you and then hoping that you would provide good service and then hoping that you might give them a referral fee. All too late and too vague.
Too much hope! It is easier for people to do nothing. Doing nothing avoids them taking a huge risk on your behalf that they just don’t need to take. It takes a lot of effort to overcome this natural reluctance to help you. There is a way and it is simple.
Here’s How To Do It
The way to drive referrals, and to make new business happen is to deliver value in advance.
It is much better to write a special report on your core area of business that addresses all the common ailments that you know your type of customer is most likely suffering from. This positions you as an authority and an expert and advertises your practice or service or manufacturing facility to those who actually need it.
Instead of referring you directly, it is easier for people to share your report. For doing that they might not even ask or expect to be paid. People like to give away value.
For instance (if you are a plastic moulder): The Five Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Lose Money Through Plastic Injection Moulding. Or (for a restuarant) What’s Best To Eat And Stay Fit & Healthy. I can come up with 100s of examples.
Simply producing a short report differentiates you from the beginning. With a report you can print copies off and give them away as a value added gift. You will stand out to your clientele in a memorable way. If you hand out this kind of material while they are waiting for something, or deliver it to them online, you will make the occassion memorable too. Your competitors are probably doing nothing of the kind – that is why this simple strategy is outstanding. More clients will hold you in higher regard, which in turn will lead to more satisfied customers and referrals too.
Famous motivational author and speaker Zig Ziglar would say “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want”. He was so right.
As if what I have written is not value enough, I have more. Click to get an excerpt from my upcoming book: Love You, Love You Not! which contains 39 Client Retention And Referral Strategies