Learn how Business Referrals can be a low-cost but effective way to grow and sell more products or services to new or existing clients.
Business Referrals can be one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways for a business to reach more clients and sell more products and services.
Traditionally, referrals would come from industry contacts or customers you’ve previously done business with.
However, in today’s digital age, referrals can also be generated from digital channels like Google and even via social media channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
Sustainable Business Referral Marketing
Having a sustainable business referral program in place can generate a steady flow of quality new business leads – basically for free!
But like any business development program, it needs to be taken seriously and NOT just a “let’s throw it out there and see what comes back” type project.
Business referral marketing needs to be well-thought-out and designed with detail so that it just doesn’t happen once by chance; it will continue to be driven internally (employees) as well as externally (digital channels and partners).
Creating a Business Referral Marketing Program
We’ve put together a bunch of great information and steps that you can use to implement your business referral marketing program suited to your type of business.
Tidy your Backyard First
Business referrals are ALWAYS based on trust.
As such, this means doing quality work on projects, having a good rapport with your clients, as well as having happy employees. Not having a good understanding of what people think about your services can result in a lot of wasted time and effort.
• Run a customer or employee satisfaction survey.
• Review your previous jobs and product sales.
• Prove that you are focused on total satisfaction and prepared to put systems in place to ensure this continues and is measured.
Grow your Testimonials
The first thing that people do when looking to engage a business is to check their online reviews.
Those brands with a good list of 5-Star reviews are well on the way to securing the sale.
Having NO online reviews doesn’t always mean that you’ve done an excellent job and have happy customers!
• Review your Google and Facebook Reviews and correct them where possible.
• Put a system in place that allows you to easily ask customers for an online review to become an automated process moving forward.
• If you don’t wish to use a review software tool to do this for you, simply put a few email templates together for your team to use.
• Put a review management process in place, e.g. responding to positive and negative comments.
Create a Referral Channel Plan
Your business referral channel plan summarises your referral channels.
It may be from customers, employees, suppliers, implementation partners, digital sales channels, business alliance partners, solution partners, or even new channel partners yet to be discovered?
Break this list into categories and begin researching the names and contact details.
Just as important is to think about that channel, the message or offer. How you communicate with a client would be worded very differently for a business alliance partner.
Define your Referral Rewards
In some circumstances (e.g. working with alliance partners) there may be a need to remunerate for the referral?
It would be best if you thought about how this process may work. Pay on referral, pay on the business being closed, a commission of the sale?
It’s a great idea to have a few models in place before you start making contact and perhaps get put on the spot and are unsure how to answer. Remember, a referral is still saving you money in marketing and qualification costs.
Build a Business Referral Kit
Your business referral kit contains all the items you or a staff member will need to engage with a customer or channel partner to grow referrals.
• Create your company’s 30-second elevator pitch.
• Create a personal story that will explain to people why you are so passionate about what you do and why you’re doing it.
• People connect easier with personal and passionate stories.
• Build your Promise e.g. I will be in touch, or, I’ll send you something, or, let’s arrange a meeting.
• Build out your communication templates e.g. email, greeting card, handwritten note etc.
• Ensure every referral has a follow up thank you email or phone call to let them know how the referral has progressed.
• Create your product or service information pack.
Build and Grow your Referral Program
Don’t just forget about your referral partners. It’s crucial that you put an account management plan in place that reconnects with each referral partner monthly (meeting, email, phone call) to encourage more referrals.
• Thank them for referrals and inform them of their progress.
• Put a follow-up plan in place that will promote more referrals.
• Keep up the communications (updates, newsletters, related articles etc.).
• Conduct one-on-one sessions to keep each other’s business front of mind.
• Invite them into your networking groups on LinkedIn or Facebook.
• Collaborate with case studies, website partnership links, joint campaigns.
Celebrate the Wins
It’s important to celebrate the successes with your referral partners.
Do this to highlight the strong business relationship and synergy that both companies have.
• Let them know when deals close.
• Have a monthly and annual luncheon.
• Pay their commission immediately.
• Thank them for the business.
• Publish new customer success stores on your website, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Our Best Tips to help you get more Referrals
1. Get your referral program in place BEFORE you start engaging.
2. Learn to ask for referrals; this promotes strength and confidence in your offer.
3. Implement a robust process to support the referral program.
4. Treat referrals as VIPs and keep your partners updated on their progress.
The business that comes through a referral network is the fastest way to grow your business and to generate low-cost new sales leads. Why?
• Referrals come from reputable sources who know your business.
• Referrals are a VIP and are treated with priority.
• Referrals Build stronger business partnerships.
• Referrals build quality and trustworthy brands.
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The Art of Sales Qualification
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Implementing a Sales Process & Framework
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Need some advice?
Our team can help you to create a sustainable referall marketing plan and to create the various tools you’ll need to make it successful.
Contact us at [email protected] or call us on +61 3 9863-7444