It’s a fact – if a friend or colleague refers a product or service to you, you automatically trust that product more than a competing product or service that an ad might try to sell you. And not only are you more likely to buy, you’re more likely to have a higher lifetime loyalty value when you do, according to a study from Wharton and Goethe University. Referrals are clearly THE lead to have. So, what’s the trick to racking up referrals? There’s no one key to obtaining referrals, but a multitude of smart changes you can make to keep the referrals coming.
Start by finding your Net Promoter Score
A man named Fred Reichheld came up with the “Net Promoter Score,” measured by three questions to determine whether a customer is pleased with your service and how likely they are to refer you to another person. You must first determine if the customer is a promoter, passive, or a detractor to your good reputation. Ask each client to take this quick three question survey after an interaction.
- Following your recent [purchase of Product or Service] on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend [ABC Company] to a friend or business colleagues?
- What single thing could we do that would most help to move this score closer to 10?
- Is there anything else you would like to add as feedback?
People who rate 1-6 = Detractors: likely to share their bad experience
People who rate 7-8 = Passives: most like won’t recommend to friends
People who rate 9-10 = Promoters: likely to recommend especially if given the opportunity
% of Promoters – % of Detractors = Net Promoter Score
The data you collect is pointless if you don’t track and effectively use it, so it is important that you use a CRM like Zoho to collect, store, and update the info. If possible and reasonable, contact the detractors. Listen to how the issue arose and determine if this is a recurring complaint. This practice will often point out changes you need to make to your sales process.
Techniques to get referrals
Ask your promoters first
Your promoters are those who are most likely to recommend you if given the opportunity. So, give them the opportunity! Reach out and ask for a referral. Don’t overlook anyone – your CRM should be able to help you find those who are most likely to refer you.
Ask at the right time
You might know this trick from when you were a kid. You probably made sure your parents were in a good mood before you asked for something. Well, little did you know it, but even then you were using a majorly persuasive business technique. Plan to ask your clients for a referral when you know they’ll be more than ready to sing your praises. Catch them at a time when the light is shone on what a great job you do for them.
Ask prospects that didn’t close
A lot of sales fall through not because the prospect dislikes you or your product, but because they just aren’t a good fit. In that case, it’s the perfect opportunity to find out if they know someone who is a good fit. Don’t assume the prospect doesn’t like you and your product. You have nothing to lose by asking.
Enable referral partners
Your channel partners are businesses that deal with the same community of clients but aren’t in the same market as you. For instance, a dentist’s office and an orthodontist’s office, or a realtor business and a landscaping business. Your partner network is a great source of high quality leads. This stems from partners’ ability to understand the pains of your target buyers and leverage their trusted relationships to make a referral to your company.
Be a devoted sales representative
This one may seem a little obvious, but it’s mandatory to earn referrals. Provide top-notch service, and referrals will flow more easily. What can you do to go above and beyond for your client? You want to give them the kind of service they want to rave about – make it easy for them. Think about the last time you had truly excellent service. Didn’t you want to tell someone about it?
Here are five successful methods to enable referrals:
- Email – Provide emails or attachments that can be emailed, preloaded with your value proposition that your promoter can send to their contacts.
- Shareable URL – Create a personal, trackable referral link that your promoter can share anywhere – LinkedIn, their website, an email, a blog post, text message, etc.
- Social media – Give your promoters something to share. It can be a simple graphic, a link, or a few short sentences.The more flexibility you can provide to allow them to post/message to an individual, the better results you’ll get.
- Printed cards – A printed referral card with the personal url/tracking code on it can be a great way to bring offline conversations online. With the value proposition already on the card, this can be an excellent leave behind for face-to-face encounters.
- Lead form (for referral partners) – A form filled out with contact info once your referral partners have had a conversation with prospects to qualify them.
Bottom line? Take the initiative
The average person knows in excess of 250 other people. Do you really think that none of those hundreds of people are a good fit for your products? Don’t be afraid to ask. There is truth to those cliches like “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” or “ask and you shall receive”. Afterwards, remember to thank and recognize those who have referred you. Just reaching out to them in a small way to say thank you will increase your chances of getting referred again. Get a few good referrals going and the domino effect will set off. You’ll know you’re doing something right when you get that call from a friend of a friend of a friend, saying they heard you’re the best in the business.