Customer referrals are like gold for your small business. They’re remarkably powerful because consumers tend to trust recommendations from friends and family more than marketing pitches from unfamiliar companies. When you’re looking to increase sales, encouraging customer referrals can be a cost-effective strategy.
1) Offer Surprisingly Good Service
The most effective way to get more referrals is to provide service that’s so good, it surprises your customers. When you exceed a buyer’s expectations, it leaves a big impression. Delighted consumers are more likely to share the story with their family and friends — who may be curious enough to experience your fantastic service for themselves.
Think about the standard experience for shoppers in your industry and how you can exceed what your competitors are doing. If other businesses simply deliver a product and leave, you could start sticking around to help with installation and answer questions. If competitors are known for unfriendly in-store service, ask your staff to go the extra mile to help shoppers find what they need.
2) Ask For Referrals
One of the easiest ways to boost word-of-mouth marketing is to ask for customer referrals. Try to do this at a moment when a client is happy with your company. Wait until a person thanks you for great service or mentions how your product helped them. Then, say something like, “I’m so glad you had a great experience. If you know anyone else who might benefit from our services, I’d appreciate it if you passed my name along to to them.”
If you primarily do business online, consider adding a simple request to your email signature or packing slip. A statement like, “Happy with your purchase? Recommend us to your friends!” is direct without being pushy.
3) Create a Customer Referral Program
Sometimes, little perks are all it takes to boost customer referrals. The vacation rental website Airbnb provides each customer with a personal referral link. When another person signs up for a new account using that link, both people get a credit toward future Airbnb stays. While you might not have the same resources, you can apply the same principles to your business by offering value to people who refer customers.
The key is to find a customer referral program that fits your business and resources. If your company is small, you could hand out referral cards to loyal customers. When a new customer comes in with a card, give a cash bonus or a discount to the original customer. If you run an online company, you could offer a discount code for anyone who shares a referral link over email or on social media.
4) Thank Customers For Referrals
Once referrals start rolling in, you can get even more by recognizing your best brand ambassadors. If a client recommendation results in new business, surprise them with a free product or a discount on their next order. Don’t worry if you don’t have room in the budget. Make a phone call or a personal visit to say thank you, and then look for ways you can return the favor. You might refer someone else to the person’s business, provide a complimentary service call, or connect them with a vendor that can save their company money.
The time you spend getting more customer referrals can pay off significantly in the long run. With more word of mouth marketing, you can increase sales and build a loyal customer base that sets up your company for success.