Do you have a program to systematically gain quality referrals from your current clients?
Referrals come much more naturally and easily when your clients are happy and are excited about referring you to their friends and family. Since you’re doing such a great job taking care of your customers and keeping them happy, the next best thing you can do is set up systems to maximize the benefit you get from them. The goal is to have your clients help by marketing for you!
It's well known that if you just leave it up to your clients to do referrals for you, very few will—even if they are very happy with you. You have to make it very easy—almost effortless—for your clients to refer your business to others.
A study from Lee Resource Inc. found that attracting a new client can cost five times as much as keeping an existing one. Referrals make great clients. Every landscaper wants referrals because they help save money on marketing, right? Well, there is, even more, to gain from referrals than cost savings. According to a case study noted in the Harvard Business Review, clients that come from referrals are, on average, about 18 percent more likely than others to stay with a company, and they generate 16 percent more in profits! As you are probably already aware, A new customer that came as a referral from a friend makes a better client.
Here are some ideas to help generate referrals...
- Don't assume that your clients know that you have an interest in adding more customers and growing your business. Add a line to your invoice that reads "The ultimate compliment that you can give us is telling your family and friends about our services."
- Send a handwritten Thank You note to let your clients know how much you appreciate them. An idea to systematically put this in place is to send them each month to those clients that are celebrating another yearly anniversary as your customer.
Mix things up, don't send the same card out each year.
Although you are not asking for a referral in these cards, they will often naturally lead to referrals.
- Keep your ears open and train your employees to do the same. When a client mentions that they know someone that could use your services, don't just assume that they will be telling them about you anytime soon. Instead be prepared to ask if you can drop them a note, an email or give them a card for a new customer special, etc. Give it some thought and develop a plan that you can effortlessly put in place.
- Create a directory of services that are offered by your clients and other business owners that you have a relationship with. Use your newsletter, email, website, etc to get the word out about the directory that you areputting together.
- Create a referral program. Make it a win-win for your client and the person that they refer. Make it easy and include an area on your website that makes it easy for them to do so.