Yes, they are. In fact, your prospects are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend or peer, according to Hubspot.
So how do you get referrals? Let’s start with the obvious:
Regularly communicate with your own clients. Even though it seems so basic, few companies do it successfully. Talking with your customers helps in two-fold retention and referrals.
If you’re doing a good job delivering your product or service, referrals from your current client base are a natural. Don’t be afraid to ask for the referral. Most good clients will not refuse, as they want to be part of the referral process and help.
Email is a good first start, but phone contact is even better. I can’t tell you what a personalized voice means in retention and referrals. With the advent of email, we’ve lost that personal contact of actually talking to others. As ATT used to say, “Reach out and touch someone.” Regular personal contact bodes well for the relationship between you and your client. Use an outbound call technology and track it.
Send a personalized note. Yes, you have to buy stamps and yes, you have to drop off the envelope at the Post Office. But this old-fashioned approach works. Due to the advent of email, most of us get very little physical mail these days. (I get 3-5 pieces a week.) That means if you send a note, it won’t get lost in the shuffle like it used to. Be sure to always include a contact number on the note. Use this approach as a marketing channel with a dedicated number so you can track your results. (I know, I know, I’m always looking at ROI.)
The outbound referral process can be daunting. Many of us rationalize, “I don’t want to bother my clients, they will mention problems, they will cancel.” Think of it another way: you already have the client that pays for your product or service. If you’re worried about any of the above, they are not a client anyway. It’s a retention effort, but avoiding it will only hinder the process. The key here is potential.
At the end of Q4 last year, I gamified the process for my Account Management team by giving away a TV that cost maybe $800. They reached out to everyone in their client portfolio. In less than four months, my little contest generated over $300K in new annually recurring revenue. The incentive for the employee was a TV and recognition at our Monday morning meeting. ROI on that was tremendous, as it added a sales channel that was untapped and we had to make the touch call anyway.