It is no secret that “word of mouth” or referral business is one of the most effective ways to bring in new clients while simultaneously strengthening relationships with your existing customer base. But even though it is extremely powerful and virtually free (or at most costs very little), very few business owners or coaches use it anywhere near it’s potential.
Consider this: if you got just one referral from each one of your clients, over the next 60 days you’d double your client base. What would that mean to your potential income and how many more people would you be helping in supportive and uplifting ways?
So, how do you maximize word of mouth in your business? Here are 5 Steps you can start to take right now…
1. Really appreciate your clients and consistently let them know that you value them.
This is the most important, yet overlooked element of creating endless referrals. Many businesses focus more on profits than on people. Focusing on profits alone can be detrimental to success and ‘Word of Mouth’ success comes from looking beyond just profit into how you can enrich your customer’s lives.
Action: At least once a month, take the time to communicate to your clients and show them you appreciate them. Send them something of value, something unexpected, a bonus report, a special piece of news you just found. Make it relevant to them and do it regularly.
2. Create an exceptional experience each time they deal with you or your company.
If you can make doing business with you an exceptional experience, your clients will want to tell a lot of people. People want amazing experiences!
Here is an example: There is a Life Coach who has a special relationship with a city coffee shop. Once every 8 weeks he invites his in-person clients to a ‘brain trust’ meeting and the coffee and cake is on the house. Every client that attends gets a card and a voucher from the coffee shop owner to say ‘Thank you for joining us today, we would love to see you again soon’. The voucher is a ‘buy one get one free’ coffee voucher. So they are encouraged to come back again. And because the coffee shop owner is exposing his business to potential new clients, the coach pays just the cost price on the coffee and cake his clients eat. Normally about 8 clients attend and the cost is around $30. Just a little extra touch can make dealing with your business that much more of an exceptional experience!
Action: What can you do now to add little things that make an exceptional experience? Perhaps you can use the above example or something similar in order to network with other professionals while simultaneously providing amazing value to your clients. Remember, start creating exceptional experiences today.
3. Give your customers incentives for giving you referrals.
If you’re being passive about referrals then you’re sitting on a gold-mine. Come up with ways of rewarding your clients for referring business to you. They could receive free gifts, such as a 90 minute coaching session with you, a certificate for a massage or a nice dinner, or perhaps even a financial reward (i.e. $100 Visa gift card). No matter what you choose, the key is making sure that whatever you choose to offer is something that your client will really be attracted to!
Action: Reward your clients for referring people to you. Come up with rewards that will be beneficial to your clients. If you work with clients who routinely use a lot of equipment in their job or enjoy shopping, an Amazon gift card might be a very motivating reward for them! And if you are stumped on a gift idea, just remember that money is always a great motivator as well.
4. Make it easy for clients to give you referrals
If you want to get lots of referrals, you must make it incredibly easy for your clients to tell their friends. Don’t expect them to go way out of the way to help you grow your business. Make it as simple as possible.
Action: Develop a ‘referral package’ that you give to your clients. Ask your clients to be an ambassador for your business as you wish to work with people similar to them. The package would include a professionally designed document explaining why referrals are important to you, and a series of referral cards/ invites/ links that your client can easily share with others and post to their social media accounts. Always make sure to present everything very professionally in order to increase the perceived value of your offer/ services and to put your best foot forward with your new potential clients.
5. Ask at the right time!
When is the best time to ask for referrals? Any time! If you have followed the steps listed above…you’ve let clients know they are appreciated, you have consistently given them an exceptional experience, you have provided an enticing incentive to share your message with friends, and you have made it incredibly easy for them to do so. At this point, you should not only be able to ask your clients for referrals at any time, but you should also receive very positive results from it as well!
Action: The key is to do something now. Draft up an email today and just send it off to your clients letting them know how much you value them, how much you have enjoyed working with them in the past, and include something that is going to be helpful/ provide some value to their lives. Then over the next 4 to 6 weeks develop your ‘referral package’ and start to use it. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and take action…. Your business and new referral clients will definitely thank you for it!