Suggestions for business references
The company that grows without advertising
Have you ever noticed the company that is never advertised, but keeps growing? Some companies achieve so much without spending a penny on advertising. But how do they do it? What’s the trick?
The answer to growing your business without a huge advertising budget is referrals. Some companies build their customer base completely through referrals. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful tips for growing your business through referrals, and we started with LinkedIn because it’s the most successful place on the internet to build a referral base.
LinkedIn: Professional Referral Power
The powerhouse of professional networking is LinkedIn. There is no magazine ad that can replace the power of connections gained through LinkedIn. Profiles on many social media sites are helpful, but LinkedIn provides on and off success by serving as a platform for maintaining and building business relationships. By creating a strong LinkedIn profile, you build authenticity. By completing your LinkedIn profile, you provide an authoritative resource on your career. It helps you control your identity online, even on Google. You can control the top results that people see on Google when they search by your name. In most cases, your LinkedIn profile will appear at the top of these search results. So, for this reason alone, you must have a 100% complete profile on LinkedIn.
That’s how …
A 100% complete profile on LinkedIn includes:
- an executive summary and skill set
- a photography
- Education History
- three recent posts
- three recommendations from your contacts
To get started, click on “Edit Profile” from LinkedIn.
Be more referrable.
It sounds simple enough, but not everyone does this. And remember, no one wants to refer their customers to an unresponsive company. It looks bad. So work on the customer experience and transaction that your company offers. Always be extremely responsive to your customers, even if you don’t have the answer or solution, reply to the customer with “We are working on it” or “We are investigating this issue and will keep you posted on our progress towards a resolution.” . A quick answer to a customer’s question is a bold statement that your company is eager to please. Customers appreciate it and will tell their friends or family about the great experience they had with your business.
Make it an expectation.
Expect each of your clients to be a referral source. Start talking about it in the lead conversion process, when selling to leads. Present the idea that “Within 90 days”, for example, “you will be so happy that we will ask you to refer three people who need the same positive results from our company.” It’s a great “you’re going to be excited” marketing message.
Make participation in LinkedIn groups and discussions practical.
When you join a LinkedIn group, be sure to specify that you want to receive emails from the group. Then scan those emails daily, and if one of the current discussions is relevant to your skill set, step in. Keep your comments short and professional. As you compose your comments, make it a habit to think regularly in terms of getting more referrals. Set goals for yourself each week and keep track of the number of referrals you receive.
Be specific when requesting a referral.
Be specific when requesting a referral. And always remember to ask for references. Don’t be shy about it. A good example is, “Our best referral is a small business owner who …” asks their clients for three referrals “… so we can make them a happy customer.”
Be consistent when asking for references.
Make every client meeting an opportunity to gather referrals, but don’t be overly pushy or obvious.
Offer commissions or referral fees.
Have you ever seen companies that have a page on their site, in a highly visible position, that says “Refer a friend and get $ 100”? Well, it works! Educate customers about your service and how you can help other businesses. And don’t forget to mention that when referring clients to your company, they are paid a referral fee. It is beneficial for both parties. Reward your referral sources. Keep them posted on the progress and satisfaction of the person they referred you to.
Happy customers are the best references.
Ideal referrals come from satisfied customers. So get into a habit of overdelivering and your referral base will grow.
Follow up after a sale.
Follow up immediately after meeting a new referral. Ask that reference to meet in person for coffee or write a cover letter to start the relationship.
Most salespeople stop at the end of the sales process. They go through the same cycle of prospective, present, close, follow-up. That sales strategy has worked in the past, but to build your business, you need to build relationships and be known as an expert in your field. You need to be known as a valuable person. If your clients value the knowledge and experience you offer them, then it will be easier for you to maintain a relationship after the sale is complete.
Being available, you never know when someone will be ready to send you referrals. Remember, a referral is a commitment. It is an association and if you keep your customers happy, your referral base will grow. It costs ten times more to get a new customer than it does to get customers from existing customers. So take advantage of your customer base assets and grow your business.
Don’t forget a thank you note.
Always thank someone for sending you a reference. A thank you note received in a timely manner is helpful. If someone sends you a referral on Monday, make sure you have the thank you note on your desk by Friday. Don’t wait too long or the thank you note will lose its effectiveness.