How do you currently generate customers? Do you get all your customers through word of mouth? Through referrals?

Your current customers are an excellent source of new customers. That’s not to say that they will be buying from you again, although that’s quite likely they’ve had a good experience with you. What that really means is that they are the people that have had experience of you and your product or service. They have lived the experience that you offer, the whole package. 

People like to share experiences

Those people are an excellent source of referrals. They can make personal recommendations, recommendations that people will trust, and that will have a lot of weight behind them. Recommendations that will mean something to their audience, to their friends, to their families, to people they know because they have actually experienced your product or service. They have experienced the customer service that you provide and they have travelled the journey that you have created.

Those people, those happy and satisfied customers, are a wonderful source of new custom. The joy and satisfaction in their delivery of the referral will do more for you than any amount of marketing will ever do. They are a resource worth their weight in gold.

How can those magical referrals be generated in the first place?

If you have customers already, which most of you will, how can you generate those referrals? How can you get more of those gorgeous referrals? There’s a couple of things to consider before you get into how to generate more referrals from those people. 

Everybody wants to be the master, nobody wants to be the student

You need to think about what those people get out of it, which is pretty basic. So what those people get is a few different things. They get a good feeling. Good feeling is generated when you are the person that has knowledge that is required, when you are the source of authority in a conversation because it is a basic human need. That feeling of authority is something that people strive for in nearly every conversation they have.

Referrals – The power of reciprocity 

If you have a good, solid relationship with that person they will also get a feeling of camaraderie and all the good feelings that come along with being supportive. Because you helped them overcome a problem of some kind, and as far as they’re concerned you’ve been really helpful, they feel the need to reciprocate in some small way. 

You’ve not just provided that product or service, you’ve built a relationship with those people so it is only natural that they want to support you. And that is something that is enormously powerful. Because those people that want to support you do so with passion. They don’t do so lethargically, they deliver their recommendation or referral enthusiastically, and with passion. 

Good people share good experiences with pride, the magic of referrals

That moment when someone is asked for a recommendation is an opportunity to share a good experience. Most people are good people and good people like to share good experiences, so when somebody makes a recommendation it’s because they want to share a good experience they’ve had.

There is no doubt in my mind that is an absolutely fair exchange. And that it is something that can, and should, be utilised. So that’s what people get out of making recommendations and referrals, and those are really important things to consider. 

It’s not just what they get out of referrals that counts, it’s what they have to put in

As well as what they get out of the referral experience, you have to think about what, in order to make that recommendation or referral, they have to put in. How difficult is it for them? Is there any effort required on their part to make that referral to make that recommendation?

You, as the business owner, can ease that burden. You can make it easier for them by giving them your business card, connecting with them on social media, providing them with literature and documentation, and so on. There’s many things that you could be doing that would ease that process that would make that process easier for them. 

There is only one way to get referrals and that’s the easy way

If you want regular referrals for your business then make it as easy as possible. The easier it is, the more likely your customers are to make those referrals. If it is as quick as saying this person is really good, and this is how you contact them, then there is next to no effort on their part whatsoever which will make it much more likely that the referral will be made. But you make it really hard for them if you haven’t given them anything that has your website or contact details on it. 

And on that front, before continuing, you cannot expect the customer to remember anything. Not your website address, you cannot expect them to remember your name on social media, you cannot expect them to do anything that relies on them remembering something specific to your brand because those expectations are hardly ever met due to the fact that you are just not that important in their world. 

Make it so easy to give referrals that they cannot justify not doing it 

So anyway, back to my point, you need to give them something that makes it easier for them to pass your details on to people. So if we’re talking about the online space, connect with them on social media. When you do a job for them and you’ve made that connection on social media as well, post about the work and then tag them in the post. That way they’ve got some sort of reference to look back on. Make sure you engage with them on their social content too so that you come up over and over, they get to know you, your face, your profile picture, and your name on social media. As a result, they don’t have to look too far back in their own history on social media to be able to click on your profile and send it to their friend, something that is really easy to do. 

Referrals are a direct result of relationships

You have already built a relationship with them, so continue building that relationship. That’s it. What did you do to build that relationship? Continue doing that and if we’re talking to those people face to face, offline as it were, then that’s where things like literature come in really handy. Leaflets, business cards, and so on. You can leave them something that they can keep and hand out whenever there is someone asking them about the product or service that you have provided. 

A little gift that can be used for referrals

Have you ever bought something and the seller has included a little thank you note? These are not there by accident. They are there so that you can pass them onto your friends and family to make referrals.

Have you ever received a Christmas card from a business? Maybe you received a little note or gift? Well, those things exist for one purpose, and only one. And that isn’t to be nice, despite what they may insist. It is to keep that company fresh in your mind so you are more likely to make referrals. Those gifts will have their social media handles on it, a link to their website, or even a phone number. 

The smallest gestures have the biggest impact

Whether it’s a little thank you note in the box or a gift during the holidays, It’s low cost and a really powerful tool to have in your arsenal. A tool that will make your number of referrals skyrocket because it makes it easier as the customer can just pass that note, that business card, that leaflet, or whatever it is on to those people who need those details so they too can experience what you have to offer.

Look out for part 2 of, “Referrals made easy: Easy to get, easy to give”

In part two I will be going over some ways you can make the process of generating referrals much easier and more effective so that you can increase your sales without having to increase your marketing efforts.

In the meantime it is worth noting that creating a steady stream of referrals comes mostly as a result of good habits. Things that have a positive impact that you repeat over and again. Creating good habits can seem like hard work after all if it was easy you would already be doing it, right?

I don’t actually believe that. Habits are not that hard to create, just look at how easily you create bad habits in your life. Habit creation is something I have previously written about, which you can find here

There is help available, if you want to reach out for it

I have helped hundreds of businesses create a referrals strategy that has generated many thousands in sales for those businesses. If you would like to grab a 1:1 session with me to create a strategy that will revolutionise your business then head over to my company website and send me a message. You can do that here

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