3 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Asking for Referrals, and How to Avoid Them

network of people3 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Asking for Referrals, and How to Avoid Them

As discussed in a previous article, Referral Marketing can result in serving more people, more satisfied customers, and more revenue. It can also free up your time by eliminating cold calling and chasing pseudo leads. This business building strategy can also save money on advertising and marketing.

All of that is possible, but only if it is done right. Unfortunately I’ve seen business owners make some serious missteps when trying to leverage referrals to build their business:

1) Asking for a referral to soon after a close.

Asking for a referral before your new client has had an opportunity to really experience your product or service is like asking someone to marry you on the first date. You don’t really know each other well, it feels awkward, and the person being proposed to is trying to figure out how to get out of there 🙂

People want to be comfortable recommending someone to their family, friends and colleagues. It takes time to build that comfort level and you work will speak for itself. Be patient, let the client get results and then make the request. Chances are they will connect you to their community because of the great service and benefits they get from working with you.

2) Asking everyone you’ve worked with for a referral.

It’s not about mass marketing. With referral marketing, you want to pick the top 20% of your fan base. Their enthusiasm is genuine and they often are happy to help! Chances are if they are your top raving fans, they know other potential clients who would be a good fit for you and whom you could effectively serve.

3) Not having a system or process in place to follow-up with referrals and referees.

You’ve been given a referral from someone. Now what? How do you contact the referral? What do you do with them? Are they a name on a slip of paper that gets filed away? Is the referee left wondering whatever happened? Create a system for contacting the referral within 24 hours of receiving their information, and for following up with the referee (even if it just an email to let them know you called and left a voicemail). Provide quality follow-up and service to those who do refer you – they are doing you a favor and helping to grow your business!

Avoiding these 3-referral marketing mistakes will support you in building a more profitable business (and even more raving fans). What is one step you can take to strengthen your referral marketing strategy?

Did you miss my 5 Strategies for Using Referral Marketing Techniques to Boost Your Bottom Line? Check it out here.

5 Strategies for Using Referral Marketing Techniques to Boost Your Bottom Line

solutions-next-exitAs a small business owner you might have come across the idea of referral marketing. If you’re wondering what it is, and if it’s for you, the resounding answer is “YES!”

Referral marketing is essential to your business’ growth and its bottom line. How?

The core of referral marketing begins with your current fan base. Essentially, those individuals who’ve previously purchased your goods or services and who are willing to recommend what you have to offer to people outside your immediate network. It is considered one of the most effective ways for companies to build a business.

The key is building trust. Most importantly, clients need to feel confident and satisfied with your offerings and you must be delivering a reliable product or service.

So why do it?

Instead of worrying about the cold call, small business owners can stop the legwork and have warm leads come to them. It requires patience, but is often well worth the invested time.

My 5 Strategies in Referral Marketing and Boosting Your Bottom Line:

1) Build strategic alliances with like-minded business owners, especially those who market complementary services or products to your ideal client population. Team up with and create allies in the industry in order to gain access to that individual’s network and to showcase both their talent and yours.

2) Provide incentives: reward program, free reports, referral program, etc. Incentive programs are often a welcome bonus for true fans and people promoting your work.

3) Bring in other experts relevant to your client base, to be guest bloggers or an expert interview; both parties can expand their audience bases. This can provide more practical how-to tips for clients, causing them to refer out your work and share on social media. Plus, you’ll expand your reach and be viewed as a “go to” resource.

4) Create a marketing strategy and program to let people know exactly how they can refer you. For example, use social media to promote both your work and your program, give clear instructions on how people can share with their friends and family. It’s as simple as adding share buttons to blog posts.

5) Focus on the relationship, not the sell. Referral marketing is a wonderful business opportunity, but remember the core usage of this technique relies on the person. It’s essential to keep in mind the person behind the numbers.

How have you used referral marketing to expand you reach or increase your revenue? Please share in the comments below!