<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Create & Implement Your Referral Marketing System

Apr. 7, 2014 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Advertising concept: black text Referral Marketing under the pie

So far we have discussed the benefits of referral marketing and some great referral marketing ideas to get you started. Now let’s focus on developing your referral marketing system. This post will discuss when and how to ask for a referral, and how to capitalize on those referrals by bringing them on has clients.

When to Ask for a Referral

As discussed in 4 Referral Marketing Ideas to Jumpstart Your Referral Marketing Program, at least 80% of your communication with referral sources should not focus on asking for referrals. Rather, these conversations should focus on the referrer. Naturally, conversations with current clients will mainly focus on the current project. Communications will all sources—client and non-client—can be centered on educational topics (for example, about business, their industry, their target market, etc.) or more personal areas of interest. Take care to learn about your top referral sources’ interests and hobbies so you can develop a more meaningful relationship with them.

The time does come in any referral relationship; however, for you to come right out and ask for a referral! Here are some tips on when it is appropriate to ask different sources:

  • Prospects: Whenever you meet with a prospect who declines your service, ask them for a referral. Most people want to say yes, so give them a chance to say yes after they have said no to using your service.
  • Clients:
    • When you provide something above and beyond your normal service.
    • When they say thank you for something, say: “The best way you can thank me is to refer someone to me.”
    • At a status meeting or review (if applicable) as part of the evaluation process.
  • New Clients: Ask for referrals from new clients shortly after they become your clients. They will be very positive as a brand new client and will be more open/willing to recommend your service to a colleague. Be sure that they have received some value first.

How to Ask for a Referral

5 Steps to Unlimited Referrals recommends you ask: “Would you do me a favor? If you think of anyone that could use my product/service would you mind sending me their name and number so I can follow up with them?” It avoids putting them on the spot.

  • Keep Control: If a referral source identifies a referral for you, be sure that you agree to a specific plan to contact the prospect. They may forget to contact them or just send an email. Instead, ask if they'll take it a step further to place a phone call or arrange a meeting with the prospect.
  • Appreciation: Once a referral is received, ensure the referral is treated extra specially and that the referral source is shown great appreciation.
  • Testimonials: Instead of asking for referrals too often, you can also ask for testimonials – either written, video, or on LinkedIn.

Some people are naturally reluctant to ask for referrals. You may feel that you are imposing, or perhaps you’re not confident that your product or service is worth referring. John Jantsch explains in The Referral Engine that you need to believe in your heart that you are doing your sources a favor by permitting them to introduce your service to their colleagues.

Always remember that, by ensuring that your business is worth referring, your referral sources will be helping their colleagues, friends, and/or families by referring your business. In Andy Sernovitz's Word of Mouth Marketing he found that the two main reasons why others recommend you are because 1.) they like to help people they care about and 2.) because it makes them feel good.

Want additional insight? Read 4 Step Guide to Strategic Planning now to learn more

DOWNLOAD

Converting Referral Prospects into Clients

OK, you have a referred prospect. Now what? The following are best practices for converting referred prospects to clients:

  • Key Question: When you first meet with a referred prospect, ask them this: "Mary suggested that you consider my product/services. Why do you think she referred you?" If someone they respect refers them to you, this question will cause them to thoughtfully consider why they need your product/services.
  • Customized Offering: Collect as much detail as you can on the prospect from your referral source. This will allow you to present your service in a customized way that will best fit that prospect’s pain points.
  • Special Offers: Offer prospects something special since they were referred. Perhaps they can sample your product or service for a period for free.
  • Validation: Allow referral prospects to validate with another positive client of yours. Try to find the client who is the best match for the prospect either through industry, area of expertise or behavioral profile.

That wraps up our series on referral marketing! What are some referral marketing ideas you have tried that worked well? What doesn’t work so well for you?

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

Related posts

How To Find And Keep Profitable Clients
Aug. 13, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
In my previous blog, I discussed why diversifying your client base is important for your business’ profitability. Once you’ve targeted the right people, how do you go about keeping those profitable...
3 Ways To Ensure Profitability By Diversifying Your Client Base
Jul. 30, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Diversifying your client base can offer incredible opportunities for your business, and can serve as a way to protect your business from revenue fluctuations, create ongoing growth, and increase...
7 Tips for Managing Millennials on your Sales Team
Jul. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
We often hear that millennial employees are a breed apart, and require a shift in management style and perspective. The same can be said about a millennial sales team and what’s needed to effectively...
What's the Difference Between Business Development and Sales?
Jul. 18, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much distinction between business development and sales. Aren’t both activities geared towards generating more profit for the organization? Isn’t a sales...
A Quick Guide to Crafting an Effective Call-to-Action
Jul. 11, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
With all the talk about content marketing and direct mail marketing that businesses must try to keep up with, one essential element sometimes gets lost in the mix. Improving click-through rates to...
5 Customer Acquisition Strategies that Spur Growth
Jul. 9, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Maintaining a strong base of existing clients is essential for every business, but acquiring new customers is equally important. Without an influx of new and prospective customers, a business may...
How Direct Mail Marketing Is Changing
Jul. 4, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Is direct mail part of your current marketing strategies? Using tailored messages to attract targeted prospects is a valued marketing tradition. This encompasses a broad range of materials, including...
How to Generate Word-of-Mouth Sales Referrals
Jun. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Think about how you choose to make your purchase. There’s research you do online, or perhaps you’ve bought a product or service from a particular company before, and you’re comfortable doing so...
4 Tips on Creating a “Customer Experience” Strategy
Jun. 6, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
In your company, how much thought is given to the quality of interactions between your customers and your business? The experience your customers have when interacting with your brand can make all...
Turning Loyal Customers into Brand Ambassadors
May. 30, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Gaining loyal customers is just the first step in an effective growth strategy. For many companies, the hunt is on for individuals who are so taken by their products or services that they are willing...