Word-of-mouth, aka referral business is an incredibly effective way to expand your customer base while strengthening existing relationships. Despite this being a powerful (and low cost) tool, business owners and coaches rarely make use of its full potential!
For example, if you were able to get just one referral from each client, you’d double your customer base over the next 60 days! Expanding your reach could increase your income and allow you to help more people in a supportive and uplifting way.
Here are 5 Steps you can take to maximize referrals for your business:
Show your clients that you appreciate and value them
This is the most overlooked factor when it comes to creating a seemingly endless string of referrals, even though it is by far the most important. Business owners can become stuck when focusing on profits alone. Having referrals from one client to the next is vital to the sucess of your business.
How you can do this: As often as you can, but at least once a month, communicate with your clients to let them know you appreciate them. You can send them something thoughtful, it doesn’t even have to cost you. Make sure it is relevant to them.
Focus on creating the best customer/client experience you can
Ensuring that each client has an exceptional experience with you and/or your business is the best way to keep them coming back, and better yet, keep them spreading the word!
Here’s an example:
A life coach has a working relationship with a local coffee shop. Every 8 weeks he invites his clients to a meeting at the coffee shop and the food and beverages are on the house. Each client that is there gets a hand-written card and voucher from the shop owner as a “thank you”. The voucher is ‘buy one get one free’ for a coffee, so it encourages the clients to come back on their own time. The life coach pays for the coffee and food that his clients eat at these meetings, instead of paying to rent out the space because the shop is getting exposure to potential clients. This costs the life coach less than $40 every 8 weeks, a seemingly small cost to create a better customer experience!
Here’s what you can do: Think of things you can do now, or in the near future, that will help create a fantastic customer experience further down the line. You could even draw inspiration from the above example!
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Give incentives to customers for making referrals
If you aren’t taking the necessary steps to get referrals, you’re practically throwing money away. Figure out how to reward clients for referring business to you! It could be free gifts like sessions with you, gift vouchers for massages or nice dinners, or even a monetary reward. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it’s something your client will be attracted to!
Here’s what you can do: Offer rewards to clients for referring others to you. Tailor rewards to you clients. If you work with clients who routinely use equipment or stationary in the jobs, an Amazon gift card may be a good reward. If you can’t think of anything, remember that money itself is a good motivator!
Make giving referrals easy
If you want a lot of referral you need to make it easy for your clients to tell people in their lives. Don’t expect them to jump through hoops just to help you out, make it as simple as you possibly can.
Here’s what you can do: Create a “referral package” that you can give to clients. Ask clients to become ambassadors for your business because you want to work with clients similar to them! A package like this should include a professional and clean document that explains why referrals are important to you, referral cards, links, or invites that can be easily shared to social media. Make sure that everything is presented professionally to increase the perceived value of your business and its services.
Ask when the time is right!
If you’ve followed all of these steps, there is no wrong time to ask. You should be able to ask clients for referrals and receive a positive result!
Here’s what you can do: Take action now. Write an email today to let you clients know how much you appreciate them, how much you’ve enjoyed their business, and be sure to include something helpful to them as well. Develop your referral package over the following weeks and start to use it! Go outside of your comfort zone, your business will thank you!