Does it feel like you’re always chasing after new business? What if you had clients chasing after you? There are some predictable strategies I want to share with you to generate more word-of-mouth referrals that lead to well-qualified clients.
Referral marketing costs you very little and is highly effective, yet it’s a basic marketing tool that is underutilized by most business owners. The beauty of referrals is not only do you get more clients you get better quality clients. Clients who are referred, rather than finding you on their own, spend more and tend to be more loyal to you. Since someone they trust referred them there is less sales resistance so you can charge premium rates.
If you need yet another benefit, referrals cost much less to acquire than pursuing a cold lead. So if you don’t have a consistent flow of referrals coming into your business – the bottom line is it is costing you money.
So how exactly do you wow your clients into doing your marketing for you? Isn’t it true that we usually only talk about businesses that are terrible or that excel? The ones that meet our expectations or are simply adequate are easily forgotten. So don’t be forgettable!
You must focus on is delivering exceptional customer value. This is not how YOU perceive your offerings. The focus should be on how your clients feel about your business.
You may be in love with your products and services, but it’s your clients that must be in love with you, your products and services and the whole process of how you communicate and deliver those products or services. Disappointed clients don’t come back and they don’t refer their friends either. Once they’re gone you can’t get them back. In fact, they may even discourage those who do want to come to you.
What might your clients view as deal-breakers? Take a look at the following list and see if you’re guilty of a few deal-breakers or if you’re providing the kind of exceptional service that wows your clients:
- Does it take you a few days or even weeks to respond to a client’s request? Or do you return their calls and emails promptly? (That means within 24 hours.)
- When you run into a problem, do you dodge their phone calls and go into hiding? Or do you openly talk with them about the problem and how you’re trying to solve it? (This conversation may very well give you some new information or insight from your client that solves the problem for you.)
- Do you pretend you don’t hear their requests? Or even if you can’t DO something right now, do you communicate that you’ve heard their request and that you’re working on the best solution for their problem? (Once your client knows that you really heard him then he’ll be more apt to be patient.)
- Do you promise more than you can deliver just so you sound good? Or do you work hard to keep your word? (Don’t be satisfied with the “I can’t do it” mindset. Sometimes we have to really stretch ourselves and spend more time and learn new things in order to fulfill our promises. But we grow as a person and the value of our business grows with this.)
- Do you miss deadlines? Or do you strive to get the work done a day or two early? (Of course you wouldn’t want to sacrifice the quality of your work. If you aren’t doing so already, I would strongly encourage you to have a systematic way for doing everything, so that you can deliver high-quality work consistently.)
- Are you holding to the letter of your oral or written agreement, by only doing enough work to fulfill the job? Or are you adding value to add something extra to the project to make your client really look and feel good? (This involves seeing your client as a person and really building a relationship with him or her.)
- Do you bluster your way through a botched job, perhaps even shifting the blame to the client in some manner? Or do you accept responsibility and apologize? (Perhaps it’s a matter of communication breaking down, or unexpected circumstances. Whatever the reason, you’ve caused your client to feel bad and you can at the very least apologize for that and the inconvenience to them.)
Do you see how this level of service is going to make a memorable impression on your clients? Do you see how they’ll feel that you really care about them as individuals? If they remember what you did for them they’re more apt to talk about it to their colleagues and you’re more apt to get the referral.
I have a fine-tuned referral marketing system that I teach my clients. If you’d like to learn more schedule a complimentary Discovery Call. Call 1-800-267-3245 for a free 30-minute consultation!
Predictable Results™ Assignment
Take a looks at the list of client deal-breakers. Pick one that you think you could improve on and work on it this next month. Then move on to another area. Before long your service will speak for itself!
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Business Coaching, provides leading-edge business building strategies for small business owners & entrepreneurs who wish to take their company to the next level.
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Copyright © 2015, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS
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