A constant flow of referral-based clients is a sign of a thriving business. When you consistently impress your clients by delivering quality products and services, your clients will thank you with referrals. That is, of course, if you know how to ask. Here are some tips on how to generate client referrals.
Products and Services 101 – Make sure essential people – colleagues, clients, employees, and customers – understand the products and services you provide and all of the steps involved in delivering them. Most of your clients may not utilize all of your services and, therefore, may not be aware of all of the skills and products you offer. Explain all of the products you have available, in a brochure for example, and provide a detailed glimpse into the steps you take to provide your services. Another way to present existing clients with a wider view of your products and services is to offer free samples or exclusive packages, combining existing services with upgrades. This way, clients will feel appreciated and will have a full understanding of your business and can share that information with prospective clients.
Meeting Agenda – When you have scheduled meetings with clients, make an item on your meeting agenda for discussing ways to generate client referrals. Many professionals shudder at the thought of asking clients for referrals. Why not, instead, ask your clients for input on how you can grow your business during the last 15 minutes of your meeting? If it is on your agenda, you are more likely to not shy away from the discussion. Plus, present it as a request on how to grow your business to appear less like you are asking for colleagues’ information.
Personal Introduction – Too often, business owners settle for handing out their business cards or asking for business cards of potential clients, hoping to generate new customers. This approach is referred to as a cold introduction. Instead, ask clients if they can arrange a lunch or meeting with the potential client to set the stage for a personal introduction. This level of interaction will have a more meaningful impact than a cold call. If a lunch or meeting cannot be arranged, at least make sure that your client contacts the referral first to mention that you will be contacting him/her.
Survey Your Clients – Set the stage for a client referral request by asking clients how they think you are doing. Are they satisfied with your business? If so, let them know that you are looking for opportunities to grow your business and establish a comfort level where you can ask if they have any prospective clients they can refer to you.
Be a Problem-solver – High satisfaction does not always lead to immediate client referrals, though. Look for ways to target your clients’ interests and share information that helps your clients, customers, and colleagues improve their personal or business lives. Doing so establishes you as an invaluable resource and paves the way for more client referrals. Once you have identified those existing clients that are both highly satisfied with your business and comfortable in providing referrals, begin to offer ways that you can help them resolve challenges they face. Being able to frequently offer advice or solutions also gives you an opportunity to stay in contact with your clients.
Stay in Contact with Clients – Keep in touch with your clients and know their ongoing needs. Let them know what you are currently working on and whether you have any new products or services available. Make sure you always have a reason to contact them – such as advice or a recent contact that they may benefit from. Keeping yourself fresh in their minds will nurture a constant stream of referrals from highly satisfied clients.
Attracting new customers and generating client referrals is certainly a cornerstone to a successful business and does not need to be a frightening subject to approach with existing clients. Use these tactics to garner feedback from your clients, educate them about your products and services, and request assistance with helping your business expand.