We all know that it’s great when our customers are happy and spread the word, as I have discussed in other posts. However, we tend to just cross our fingers and hope for the best, rather than taking matters into our own hands to increase the chances of them referring more business to us. What, if anything, can we do?
You have to be worth people telling others about you. People will not refer others to boring businesses, or “just ok” businesses. They will however recommend businesses they think is great. So to start off with, you have to have a great product or service, but you also have to consider the total customer experience – your brand and all your brand touchpoints! Great businesses are not made by accident, and those that are truly great won’t need to spend as much time and money on their marketing (remember what Seth Godin said about small business and branding? ;) How can you improve your product, service and the customer experience?
If you have a great product or service, help your customers help their people by making it easy for them to recommend your business.
How Can You Help Them Create More Customers for You?
To make sure that your customers are getting you the right kind of business, they need to know a few things. You don’t want to be spending lots of time and energy talking to people that are completely wrong for your business. This is where a good analysis of your target group, or buyer persona, is invaluable.
Find a way to teach your customers:
- Who your dream customers are
- How to convey your core marketing message
- What they should be looking out for to know whether this person is right for you
- How you will follow up with whoever they refer to you
A Few Ground Rules
1) Deserve it!
This may seem obvious, but if your customers aren’t happy, you can’t really expect them to recommend you to others, can you? If there is room for improvement on this front, start by fixing things, before you start asking your customers to tell others about you. Ask yourself what you can do to make your customers so happy that you won’t even need to ask them to recommend you.
2) Don’t Wait Too Long
Don’t wait too long to ask them to recommend your business. People are most impressed and happy about your business early on in the relationship. As routine sets in and they get used to you, they are not as psyched, so don’t leave it too long.
3) Get People Involved
Get the person who is referring business to you to get involved. Don’t just settle for them to give you a list of names. The more involved people get, the more effective this is. If people arrange a meeting with someone, or give them a voucher for your services or something like that, it makes it more effective.
4) Make It Easy!
Everyone has a million and one things to think about and do. We are all busy. It’s not that we don’t want to recommend you, but it has to be easy. The easier it is, the likelier it is to happen. Not only is it good to educate them on what kind of customers you would like to get, but you may have to show them exactly how to approach them. This may mean giving them a script, writing the draft for a letter or email, or just telling them exactly what people you would like them to talk to for you.
5) Find the Best Time
Ok, there is really no absolute best time to ask your customers to recommend you, but some times are better than others:
- When you have just finished working with them and they tell you how happy they are
- When you exceed their expectations and they tell you that you have saved their lives
- When you deliver a new product
- After a regular review of your product or service