It is no secret that “word of mouth” or referral business is one of the most effective ways to bring in new clients while simultaneously strengthening relationships with your existing customer base. But even though it is extremely powerful and virtually free (or at most costs very little), very few business owners or coaches use it anywhere near its potential!
Consider this: if you got just one referral from each one of your clients, over the next 60 days, you’d double your client base! What would that mean to your potential income, and how many more people would you be helping in supportive and uplifting ways?
So, how do you maximize word of mouth in your business? Here are five steps you can start to take right now…
1. Really appreciate your clients and let them know consistently that you value them.
This is the most important yet overlooked element of creating endless referrals. Many businesses focus more on profits than on people. Focusing on profits alone can be detrimental to success, and ‘Word of Mouth’ success comes from looking beyond just profit into how you can enrich your customers’ lives.
Action: At least once a month, take the time to communicate to your clients and show them you appreciate them. Send them something of value, something unexpected, a bonus report, a special piece of news you just found. Make it relevant to them and do it regularly.
2. Create an exceptional experience each time they deal with you or your company
If you can make doing business with you an exceptional experience, your clients will want to tell a lot of people. People want amazing experiences!
Here is an example: A Life Coach has a special relationship with a city coffee shop. Once every eight weeks, he invites his in-person clients to a ‘brain trust’ meeting, and the coffee and cake are on the house. Every client that attends gets a card and a voucher from the coffee shop owner to say, ‘Thank you for joining us today; we would love to see you again soon. The voucher is a ‘buy one get one free coffee voucher. So they are encouraged to come back again. And because the coffee shop owner is exposing his business to potential new clients, the coach pays just the cost price on the coffee and cake his clients eat. Normally about eight clients attend, and the cost is around $30. Just a little extra touch can make dealing with your business that much more of an exceptional experience!
Action: What can you do now to add little things that make an exceptional experience? Perhaps you can use the above example or something similar to network with other professionals while simultaneously providing amazing value to your clients. Remember, start creating exceptional experiences today.
3. Give your customers incentives for giving you referrals.
If you’re passive about referrals, you’re sitting on a gold mine. Come up with ways of rewarding your clients for referring business to you. For example, they could receive complimentary gifts, such as a 90-minute coaching session with you, a certificate for a massage or a nice dinner, or perhaps even a financial reward (i.e., a $100 Visa gift card). No matter what you choose, the key is making sure that whatever you decide to offer is something your client will be attracted to!
Action: Reward your clients for referring people to you. Come up with rewards that will be beneficial to your clients. For example, if you work with clients who routinely use a lot of equipment in their job or enjoy shopping, an Amazon gift card might be a very motivating reward for them! And if you are stumped on a gift idea, remember that money is always a great motivator as well!
4. Make it easy for clients to give you referrals.
If you want to get many referrals, you must make it incredibly easy for your clients to tell their friends. Don’t expect them to go way out of the way to help you grow your business. Make it as simple as possible.
Action: Develop a ‘referral package’ that you give to your clients. Ask your clients to be ambassadors for your business as you wish to work with people similar to them. The package would include a professionally designed document explaining why referrals are important to you and a series of referral cards/ invites/ links that your client can easily share with others and post to their social media accounts. Always make sure to present everything very professionally to increase your offer/services’ perceived value and put your best foot forward with your new potential clients!
5. Ask at the right time!
When is the best time to ask for referrals? Any time! If you have followed the steps listed above… you’ve let clients know they are appreciated, you have consistently given them an exceptional experience, you have provided an enticing incentive to share your message with friends, and you have made it incredibly easy for them to do so. At this point, you should not only be able to ask your clients for referrals at any time, but you should receive very positive results from it as well!
Action: The key is to do something now. Draft up an email today and send it off to your clients, letting them know how much you value them, how much you have enjoyed working with them in the past, and include something that will be helpful/ provide some value to their lives. Then over the next 4 to 6 weeks, develop your ‘referral package’ and start to use it. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and take action…. Your business and new referral clients will definitely thank you for it!