5 Strategies Business Owners Can Use to Get More Referrals From Existing Clients

referralsHaving been a business coach and consultant for more than 10 years, I’ve seen my share of marketing strategies.  I have helped my clients and students to creatively configure the ones that will work best for them of the more than 60 ways you could be marketing your business at any time.  The way I see it, marketing is how you get found, and if you aren’t getting found you most definitely aren’t getting paid.

Despite all the ways you could be marketing, I believe that there are a few ways that are among the greatest of marketing strategies. The greatest ones in my opinion are the ones that come the most easy for you.  In doing them, you don’t feel put out or out of your comfort zone.  And your confidence makes the traction of these strategies much more effective.

In my personal opinion, word of mouth is one of the great marketing strategies I reference in the previous paragraph.  It’s such a great strategy because it can keep your client acquisition costs much lower than going out to find another client. Well, let me change that – it can be one of the greatest IF you can get people to share with others that they are getting their problems solved by you.  Sadly, there are a lot of consumers out there who don’t want to share a) that they have problems and b) who is helping them solve those problems which c) means your referrals will be next to nothing.  This is exactly why Elijah’s question caught my attention, and I’m answering it in this week’s Incredible Factor TV episode.  You see, at this point in time in my business, I get TONS of referrals from my existing and previous clients.  But before I get ahead of myself, check out Elijah’s question.

“Hi Darnyelle.  I’ve been in business for 5 years and I have almost no referrals from my clients despite the fact that they rave about my work.  How can I get my clients who clearly love working with me to refer others?”

Watch my response to his question:

As I share in the episode, many business owners struggle with this.  You’d think it’s common sense that your clients would tell the world about how you’ve helped them, BUT most won’t.  And trust me, it’s not because they don’t value the contribution you are making in their lives, it’s because they want to keep you all to themselves.

I recommend that your marketing mix include referral marketing and you create a formal program around referrals from your current clients.  Your program can be as formal as you’d like or it can be something a little more casual. Here are some of my best ideas to incentivize your clients to help you attract more new clients.

1. Make sure clients know you love referrals.  I know it sounds silly but you’d be surprised by the number of clients who have no idea that their service providers are taking on new clients.  By making that obvious to your clients, you’ll naturally get a few more people sharing who you are with those they know.

2. Create a referral contest.  A few years ago, to get my clients excited about sharing me with others, I created a contest where the person who referred the most clients who actually signed up for something would win a $500 Apple gift card.  The contest did so well that I gave out two!

3. Begin to spend time each month checking in with former clients.  By earmarking 90 minutes twice a month to check in on former clients, you’ll start to create a low hanging fruit list of those they know (and maybe even entice some of them) to re-engage and work with you again.

4. Make discussing referrals a part of your client seeding. I teach my clients that a part of your strategy when working with a client is seeding.  While there are many things you should seed, you definitely want to seed that you are taking on clients and you reward clients who refer clients to you. Then, determine whether you want to give money or nice gifts to them.  Rather than give money, I offer my clients one of their favorite things when they refer business to me that we close.  Knowing that they will finally get a massage or carry a purse they’ve always wanted but would never buy for themselves makes me feel good about having them in my life.

5. Publicly celebrate clients who have referred others.  People work harder for praise and recognition than for money.  So, put those who’ve stepped up on display to celebrate them while also making your other clients want in on some of that attention.  It’s a great way to get them to share their secret weapon with others.

Bonus: Stay top of mind with your current and former clients by creating an entire current/previous client campaign.  This is a next level strategy but I want you to think for a second: what would happen if you created an entire campaign around your current and previous client base to get referrals and retain their business?  I will tell you what – you’ll spend less money trying to acquire new clients, that’s what.

Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?:  Do you have a client referral program?  How active is it? What do you offer your clients when they refer and how often are you reminding them about the program?

If you love this idea, you’ll love our annual event, Unleash Your Incredible Factor where for three days in May 2015 I will show you how to position your business for profit.  To learn more, visit http://www.UnleashYourIncredibleFactor.com

©2014 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.

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