One of the best and most cost-effective ways of getting more leads is getting customer referrals. Period. Many sales experts frequently point out that there is no more powerful tool than getting referrals from your satisfied clients. In particular, customer satisfaction spread via word of mouth referrals can boost your business on so many levels once you create a base of loyal and happy customers.
There is a good and bad way to ask your existing clients for referrals, as well as a good and a bad timing. A good sales person would simply tell you that by mastering the art of getting referrals from your happy clients takes time and learning, but there are definitely some tips and tricks that can get you started.
Step 1: Making the client happy. Above anything else, the first and the most important step should be to make your existing client happy. Let’s face it, you will never get a referral from an unsatisfied client. All that you can get from such a client is a bad publicity; hence, making and keeping your clients happy is an imperative. Make it a routine to ask your clients for feedback once in a while and then re-evaluate your efforts. Based on such feedback you can have a clear picture of whether or not you are on the right path and what needs to be slightly re-adjusted to get better results. Once you sort everything out, and you become sure that at least a majority of your clients are happy with your product or a service, hoping to get customer referrals is a more realistic thing.
Step 2: Asking for referrals. Sure, you could just sit and do nothing and go with a famous theory: “If they are happy with my service, they will recommend me to others on their own”. And you are not that far from the truth; however, you can surely do various things to help your clients do that a bit better and make it easier for them to recommend your business to others. If your communication with clients is usually handled through emails, chats, or similar systems, then make sure to add links leading them to review websites or to recommendation tools so that your clients could have an easy way to recommend you to their friends or business contacts. By making this process significantly easier for them, you will boost your chances to get more referrals.
Step 3: Pick the right time to ask. Like with everything else in business, or even in life, there is a right time and a bad time to ask for something. Choosing the right moment to ask for a referral from your client could make a difference between succeeding and failing with that process. Note that you can embarrass yourself in front of the client if you choose a totally inappropriate moment to do that. Asking for a referral before you even make a sale is too soon. You will definitely waste your chance to get a referral and you may even create a reputation of being too pushy in the eyes of your client. Waiting too long after the sale has been made is another bad decision as your client may forget about the benefits he has gained from your product or a service, and as with everything in life, he may start taking it for granted. Depending on the nature of your product or a service, the right timing should be around the time when your client discovers true benefits of your product or service and gets excited about it. That process could take a bit longer if some kind of training or learning is involved along the way. On the other hand, always keep in mind that you should strike while the iron is hot.