Your small business can only be successful if people know about it. That’s why—no matter what kind of business you are in—you have to make time to spread the word about the great work you do. Advertisements are wonderful, but client referrals are the best and most personable way to share who you are and what you do.
Why Are Client Referrals So Powerful?
Client referrals take the cake when it comes to boosting your business. Interactions between people imply a few things that make client referrals something you need to succeed. Just picture the last time you chatted with a friend over something new, such as a new car or a new haircut.
The conversation that begins after, “where did you get your new car? I love it! Can I try it out?” is often far more exciting than any advertising email or billboard could ever be. There are several reasons for the high-energy conversations that result from client referrals.
Whereas an advertisement might touch on prices, sizes, and descriptive things of that sort, client referrals dive deeper into preferences and ease-of-use factors.
Say your small business supports other entrepreneurs with their administrative tasks or online presence. Client referrals open up conversations about your working and communication style in ways that an advertisement falls short on.
Since client referrals happen organically between people—often friends—potential clients are more likely to trust the information being shared. Friends have no reason to lie when promoting the businesses they like.
Potential clients will also feel more comfortable asking out-of-the-box questions if they are talking with a friend. Such as, “does this company get back to you as quickly as they say?” Or, “is the owner a grump? I can’t stand grumpy people!”
Client Referrals Cost You Less Time and Less Money
Internet ads, cold calls, or billboards are often costly measures, with no guarantee that you are reaching the clients that really need your services. But client referrals are free! (Or significantly less expensive, even if you provide a referral fee.) And they likely transpire between people in similar fields with similar needs, which means you are reaching your preferred clients more easily!
You don’t need to carve out as much time to initiate client referrals as you do with other advertisement strategies. They often happen as naturally as dinner conversation. When you perform your services well, people will talk about you automatically.
How To Easily Ask For Client Referrals
If you have never reaped the benefits of friendly client referrals, there are ways to get the ball rolling. Of course, your clients won’t endorse you under just any circumstances, so here are a few things to keep in mind when asking for client referrals.
Make Sure You’re Delivering An Amazing Client Experience
Be amazing. Whatever it is that your business provides, you have to excel in your field before you can request client referrals.
This doesn’t just mean that you have to be good at the service you provide (although that is certainly important, too!). It also means that you need to have excellent communication and client management skills. Your clients need to feel confident that you are a go-to team member that goes above and beyond for them.
Ask For Referrals At The Right Time
When a client is pleased with your business, you will likely know about it. It is a good idea to ask for client referrals from clients who have been working with you for long periods of time, and for multiple projects.
If clients keep coming back, they must be pleased with the way you are doing things. Also, consider asking for client referrals just after a glowing review or compliment. They wouldn’t say it unless they meant it, right?
Consider Incentivizing Your Client Referrals
This strategy works well when you are chasing a specific target—one that you know will bring your business into the next tier.
For example, let’s say that your photography business is well acquainted with the administrator of a famous singer. The administrator might be reluctant to talk about your services, as discussions with her big-name celebrity boss might feel inconvenient, or awkward. But if you offer a discounted rate or free photography session, a casual mention might become more feasible!
Make It Easy and Convenient For Your Clients To Provide Referrals
It never hurts to give someone the words that they lack in order to produce a client referral. Make your business information easy to share with business cards or pre-drafted referral emails at your clients’ disposal.
With resources in hand, your clients won’t waste time scratching their heads when they are talking about you! They can reach into their pockets or swipe quickly on their phone to refer to your business page.
While running a small business isn’t easy, welcoming client referrals can be. Start asking how your clients heard about you on their intake forms in order to understand how referrals may have already helped you out this year. Make some manageable moves to invite more referrals as soon as possible!
Take some of the work off your plate by automating the client referral process! My Automated Client Workflow will help take so much stress away from your workload.