Referrals are the best source of new customers for SME’s.

Regardless of industry or business model, referrals are the lifeline of most small businesses. They are a top lead source, which makes sense because referrals convert to sale faster, buy more and stay longer than “cold” leads…

Satisfy Customers

As a minimum, buyers expect to get the product or service in a timely fashion and as described above, you’ll want to create a customer experience that does this and more – that is, you need to “WOW” them!

Once you’ve delivered the goods, follow up with customers to see if they are satisfied or if there are ways for your business to improve…

Consider implementing feedback from customers as long as it’s consistent with your values, target customer, and brand promise…

If you don’t fulfill on their minimum expectations and the post-sale “wow”, you can guarantee that they won’t go out of their way to refer business your way…

Ask for Referrals

Most small business owners know they need to ask for referrals in order to get them, but few are intentionally asking for them…

Perhaps they’re afraid of rejection or uncovering something they prefer not to know about in their business. Or maybe they feel like they’re being pushy or salesy…

There’s nothing pushy about asking for referrals, but you won’t get them unless you’ve earned them through a seamless end-to-end sales experience….

Always keep in the forefront of your mind, that referring you to friends and co-workers may never occur to your customers unless you plant the seed in their mind by asking for what you want…

Never forget that your business is part of a web of infinite connections and every touch point provides an opportunity to connect with hundreds of other contacts that in turn will connect you to more…

 

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Ask for referrals!

Provide a Refer-a-Friend Program

The Refer-a-Friend program (also can be known as an ‘affiliate program’) involves asking the person you’re engaging with to share something socially or provide contact information for someone they think would benefit from your product or service…

Let customers know how you’ll use the information that they provide and how you plan to follow up with the person being referred. Make it easy to share by providing a referrals cards or easy to complete forms…

You can provide a discount when the task is complete and offer to provide the referrer with a free product or service once their friend makes a purchase…

Another option is to provide a discount or gift card to both the referral and the referrer…

Promoting Your Program

Once you’ve developed your referrals program, you’ll need to spread the word and market it via email, direct mail, flyers, social media and your website. Here are a few examples:

  • Promote your referrals program at the bottom of your email
  • Include a call-to-action in your transactional emails
  • Add it to your welcome email campaign
  • Send a post-sale email to your customers asking to share their purchase on social media
  • Place signs and forms at the receptionist desk
  • Become systematic about it by creating a “referrals request” email campaign that strategically asks for the referral when you identify a happy customer

Remember to Say Thank You

Sometimes it’s easy to forget to say thank you, but these two words are more important than referrals themselves.

So close the loop and let the referrer know that you appreciate their referrals by sending a simple hand-written card, calling, buying lunch or sending a small gift…

All right, so now you have implemented six of the seven steps that ought to be in place before you start advertising…

In the next step, we are going to complete your ideal customer lifecycle so that you have set the foundation to get maximum ROI on your advertising dollars. Look out for the final step, step seven of the seven steps.

PS. If you want a FREE assessment of your current customer lifecycle, contact us now for a FREE 45-minute strategy session with our Client Attraction Specialist Tim Button.

Rohan James is Creative Director at Success Wizards. He is a master at using words to create desired outcomes, but when it comes to surfing his favourite breaks, the word “master” is nowhere to be found!

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