How to get thousands of referrals and increase your sales all the time

sales-referrals-leadsGetting new customers is a costly affair for businesses. We all know that retaining a customer is easier than getting a new one and hence we do everything possible for customer delight.

But just servicing the same customer base isn’t a very profitable idea either. Especially in businesses like garments, repair, home decoration, professional services etc where the customer utilizes your service infrequently it becomes all the more important to always be on a hunt to get more customers. Though there are many ways to attract new customers and sell them more, Generating Referral is one of the easiest and most effective way to accomplish this arduous task.

Why referrals are important.

Today for every need that we have, there are 8 to 10 immediate options in our mind that can help us out. With zillions of products and many more advertisements being bombarded, it becomes all the more difficult to attract fresh customers. Again not every lead or a prospect is a customer. If you pitch, demo or present a client or a good number of times only to realize that it does not belong to your target market; the loss in terms of effort and time is huge. Here comes referral to save your day!

Any person who has been served by you well can be a great source of additional income.

  1. The customer already knows the quality of your service.
  2. He already knows what kind of people will benefit the most from these services.
  3. If he or she has been served well, chances are they will connect other similar customers with you.
  4. And even if all this doesn’t happen, they at least serve you with passing a word about you. This means good amount of free publicity.

All the above seems very lucrative but there are challenges. Why should I as a customer pass on a word about you? With so many providers available what can you do – that will unleash the power of referral engine for you?

The Powerful Referral Engine for sales

salescartTo solve all these queries I believe we should have our own quick checklist. Common practices for referral generation in our industries (By the way breaking practices and inventing your own way can result in a jackpot too).

I tried to compile a list of things which can form as a checklist while building up your referral engine. Do understand that there are 2 parts – post the customer has entered into a relationship with you. One is when you perform your duties and get the work done for the client. And two is post the sale or service when you are not in touch with the client.

While doing the work on the job

This is a list of activities to take care while the work is getting done. This part forms the base of whether the customer feels you are worth referring or not.

  1. Provide the best Quality work: No one would refer you until and unless they are themselves satisfied with your job. Understand providing better quality is not about adding more frills to the product but to do what you are supposed to in the best way possible.
  2. Communicate: At times less communication or wrong communication becomes the prime reason why customers don’t pass referrals or help us with word of mouth publicity. Talk to your customers and try to sort things in the right manner. Even if things seem under control, a healthy chat can do nothing but good to your relationship.
  3. Create relationship: If you are a mere service provider post the product is delivered why will a customer refer you. We refer and appreciate people with whom we share a bond. Try to develop a relationship with your customer. This has to be real and unconditional. You never know to what extent a friend can go to help another friend in what he wants.
  4. Be reliable: If I refer you to a friend of mine, he or she will always remember me whenever they use your product. If you deliver well they appreciate me else they malign me. So your goodwill is my goodwill when I refer you. Always try to be as reliable as possible. No one refers a person who can’t be relied upon.

Referral engine post you have delivered

This is the time the customer is not in touch with you. You have delivered the goods and the customer is out in the market post experiencing your service. How will your referral schemes work? Following are the things you can do.

  1. Ask for referrals: Nothing works more than asking someone to do it. Don’t dream that the customer is out there to drive profits for you. He needs to be aware of the idea that you are in need of referrals. Asking is the least you can do. There is nothing to lose while doing so, so be assertive.
  2. Award for referrals: Possibly you are in an industry or provide services which people don’t regularly talk about. We as customers never talk about the retail store we buy our flour from. We never talk about which shoes we are wearing until some discussion arises related to the same. So? Drive that discussion. Let your customer know that you are ready to reward him if he can drive referrals to you. You can reward him with margins, discounts or gifts. Make stuff clear and then let the ball rolling.
  3. Follow up: At times things require a bit follow up. Finally it’s not that your customer is legally bound to drive you referrals. But at the same time do remember that you should not be overdoing it. Too much of follow up will not only result in zero referrals but may also spoil your existing relationship with the customer.
  4. Finally make it easy to refer: At the end of the day, referring you is a task. And people have enough tasks already to do. So try to make referring you as easy as possible. Don’t expect the referee to hold a bunch of your business cards when she leaves for a party, the max she can do is pass on your mobile number or highlight your website. Always have a warm welcome for those who come via referrals and again make them the referral engine.

This post was quite long but I do hope that you got the point crystal clear. Always have referrals at the back of your mind when you meet someone. It will not only help your business but even help you personally to build a community of like-minded that will further help your business flourish. Do comment if you would like to add anything further or have any doubts regarding referral generation.

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