I’m writing this blog because I’m in the middle of writing the ‘Slow Selling Guide to Referrals’ training for the Slow Sellers Association (which will launch by the end of the year).
So I thought it’d be helpful and appropriate to write a short blog on the power of referrals and give you 4 key tips to help you develop an effective referral process and actually get some decent progress in this area.
Because, let’s face it, most referral systems suck!
Most companies have the following referral processes in place:
- Give up … and go back to trying to find new customers through cold marketing
Most ‘referral processes’ are at best ‘quick fix’ poorly thought through kneejerk reactions to someone saying: ‘We need to put a referral system in place’.
What I’m suggesting (as usual) is that you need to slow down, consider the real issues and the customers’ real needs, and then put a remarkable and effective system in place, step by step, inch by inch.
What we’d call a ‘Slow Selling System’ that’s designed to give fast and plentiful results!
I know it’s common sense (almost everything in the Slow Selling systems are), but here are some important facts, that I’m hoping you can use to buy the time and effort to actually do something with the tips I’ll be giving you.
After all, knowing something and not being able to do it is intensely frustrating at best…
So here are some facts you can use, when anyone asks: ‘Why are we bothering with this, we’re busy enough with our normal marketing?’
Referrals are better customers in EVERY way – They:
- Convert quickly and easily
- Spend more than average
- Are less price sensitive
- Stay with you longer than average, and, the best part
- Usually refer others to you as well!
And, if that’s not enough, as a bonus, your original customer who made the referral is now much more committed to your business and their lifetime value (and propensity to refer others to you) goes up as well.
We consider all this information and go into this subject in more detail in my latest podcast, but for now, if you’re convinced that getting more referrals is a serious subject for consideration …
… and it really is ….
Here are 4 tips to help you get started in a proper and effective way.
Tip 1: You have to ‘be referable’: your customers won’t want to refer you (and you won’t want to be referred, as you would just generate badwill as much as goodwill) until you are CONSISTENTLY referable. By this I mean that you need to be consistently ‘remarkable’ at what you do, and continually improving. A very big ask, I know, but that’s exactly what the ‘Slow Selling’ systems teach you to be!
Tip 2: Identify the ‘sweet spot’ in your customer journey for referrals. You need to monitor and identify your key ‘sweet spot’ when you’ve been truly remarkable IN YOUR CUSTOMER’S OPINION (not yours!), so that you can ask them to refer you straight afterwards. No, this isn’t after they’ve agreed to buy, it’s probably when you’ve delivered remarkably and they’ve told you that they’re delighted. Of course the process to identify this will vary from situation to situation, so you’ll need to spend time thinking about this: again, more detail can be found in our podcast.
Tip 3: Make sure your referral system is valuable: to both the referrer and to the referee … and remember, like everything else, this means what THEY think is valuable, not you! And, no: just offering bribes like free ipads usually has the opposite effect). What could you offer to these special people, over and above what you offer to ‘normal’ customers that would have real value and make them feel like you really care?
Tip 4: Treat referrers amazingly! Once someone has referred someone else to you, it’s common sense to treat them as a special customer, a VIP or the like. Put a simple, powerful system in place that ensure your both identify these people, thank them properly and then keep building a special relationship with them. They deserve it and it’ll pay you back in spades!
OK, as ever, lots of information (hopefully all of it valuable) here: so if you’re busy and stressed and only have the occasional 5 minutes to spare, how can you actually take some action?
Of course you can’t do all the above in one go: it’s a major project: which is why so few organisations do it properly and why it’s such an amazing opportunity for you if you can get it right!
But what you can do is:
- Begin with the end in mind (as we’ve set out)
- Start with one step: the process we always call ‘Go the extra inch’
So here are a few ‘extra inches’ you can start by working on:
Step 1: develop and share a ‘customer focused mission’ based on ‘being unhesitatingly referrable’ perhaps?
Step 2: start a simple but in depth customer journey analysis process to identify ‘sweet spots’.
Step 2 (again): start a simple but in depth customer feedback system.
Step 3: customer feedback again, especially from those who’ve already referred you
Step 4: put together a VIP system and ask your VIP customers what they think of it: develop it and launch it.
So there you have it: the power of referrals and some key steps to start actually benefiting from this power!
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