There’s no two ways about it: Referrals mean more cash for your business. Without them, most businesses owners are merely working to eek out a middle-class salary for themselves from their business, rather than reaping the rewards that positive word-of-mouth can offer them, their families, and employees.
Of course, above-average service will always reign at the top of most lists, but here’s 5 more that need to be included in your referral plan too:
1. Cash is King Baby!
Sometimes all the suggestions mentioned further down the page just won’t do much to sway a referral out of a customer. That’s when it’s time to put your money where your pleading, referral-begging mouth is and just offer cash.
There’s nothing like the old “Refer us to a friend and we’ll give you $100” pitch. Who in the world has no use for $100 in found money? Perhaps a billionaire like The Cubes could care less, but if you’re in an industry that targets the one-percenters of the world, you’re either sinking or swimming on your reputation anyhow.
2. Offer Free Services for Referrals
Bar none, offering your existing customers a bonus every time they bring you new business is one of the easiest ways to get them to sing your praises. Gear the size of the referral in proportion to the size of the reward ($$$) you’re going to get.
My cable company offers me a free month of service for referring a new customer to them — a value of close to 100 buckaroons for me. The only requirement is that the person I refer has to stay for at least a month. Not a bad incentive to help them get more customers.
Heck, I’d surmise most out there would refer you even if they hate your service and are considering leaving. Why not, right? While I’m not joking, please don’t refer me, or anyone else into buying a product you don’t believe in. There’s enough crap out there trying to wrangle money out of our hands as it is.
3. Give Discount Services in Exchange for Referrals
This type of referral-inducing tactic can be used in a number of different ways. It has its place and time but can be very effective nonetheless. One needs to be careful not to discount so far that the referrals they’re getting aren’t actually generating a profit in the end, though.
A mechanic could offer oil changes at cost for every referral. Carpet and duct cleaning companies could offer half off services for every new customer referred. A home inspector can offer half off inspections. A hairdresser, half off haircuts or perms.
Just make sure you’re honest and don’t try going back on your word. Such as saying that a referral didn’t pan out or whatever. That’s bad juju!
4. Be a Bright Shining Light in Public
This might be one of the most or least appealing tips, depending on your personality. It’s certainly cheap and doesn’t cost much more than a price of a gym, yoga studio, or community club membership. Even a beer or two depending on your social habits.
Get out there and do things you enjoy while talking to people. Cultivate relationships and watch business start to naturally walk in the door. If people like you and you have an in-demand or niche product / service, the public will naturally want to do business with you.
Even if “they” don’t have a use for your product, they’ll naturally refer you based solely on your personality, even if they’ve never set foot inside your doors!
5. Keep Lots of Swag on Hand
In some industries, giving away free or discounted services just might not have an appeal (though cash will always be King, regardless). Also, if you offer a low-priced product, your profit margins might be too low to offer such things.
This tip isn’t about giving away swag in exchange for referrals, but rather it’s a secret ninja marketing tactic that will make your customers referrers for your business without even knowing it. Giving away swag items with your business name and logo on it will undoubtedly spark curiosity out in the public and may even get a conversation started where someone’s out there singing your praises for the price of a $2 t-shirt or better yet; a $0.20 pen!
What’s your best referral-nabbing tip?
Main Image Credit: Ivan Fourie/Flickr