Referrals are at the heart of any great business, especially those that are social in nature. Event planners, conference planners, summer camps or child and teen programs to name a few. People attend programs both because they are interested or connected to the program itself, either personally or professionally, and probably because they’ve heard great things about it from friends, family and colleagues. Many camps, for instance, report that most of their new campers are referrals, and not a result of their marketing efforts! Below are 3 great ways to increase referrals for your business!
While there is tremendous value in marketing towards both trusted and new demographics, referrals are a surefire and effortless way to drum up new business and spread your influence and your brand in new places. It’s also a self perpetuating cycle. The more satisfied customers you have, the more they will refer you to future satisfied customers, and on and on. If you can create an effective referral “plan”, you can even save precious time in marketing and sales (think: never having to cold call a list of names you received from a previous event again!) and more time working to improve your programs, optimize your onboarding process, expand your business, give more to your clients and make more money! Tom Hopkins, in “Sales Prospecting for Dummies” says that the closing ratio for a sale with a non qualified lead averages at 10% whereas the closing ratio for sales from referred leads is about 60%. What a difference a referral makes! Implementing ways to increase your referral business can take time, but it can increase leaps and bounds in as little as 90 days.
Read on to learn our top 3 ways to improve your referral strategy! If you want to learn more about improving your business, check out this WikiHow post for a basic outline on bumping your referral numbers, this Entreprenue article on increasing customer referrals, this post with my 5 best onboarding tips and 5 ways to get your application completed on time (clearly I love the number 5)!
1. Increase referrals by giving it some time.
Often times businesses will ask a client for a referral immediately after performing a service for them. This request can at times come off as slightly aggressive and can put some people off. Give your customers time to fully experience what you have to offer before making such a request. For camps, the end of camp is a great place for surveys and a request for referrals, or conversely at a conference or professional event, at the end of the event after everyone has had a chance to digest a bit.
2. Increase referrals by thinking before you ask.
Asking every client for a referral is most likely a waste of your time and isn’t in the spirit of an effective referral strategy. Think about the networks your clients belong to and how effective their referral would be for your business. If you don’t think this client can really spread the word about your business to a large group of people or to a group that you’d like to reach, don’t bother. Spend your energy elsewhere. Once you’ve identified the clients with networks you’d like to tap into, only reach out to those who are truly happy with your service and excited about you. Your energy is much better spent on active marketing than fostering a referral with a client who doesn’t really believe in you or love you 100%.
3. Increase referrals by giving: You have to give in order to receive.
This is a great tool for businesses, whether seeking referrals or not. Treating your customers (and your employees!) right goes a long way. Offering coupons, discounts or extra support is a great way both to foster a positive relationship with your customers but also “prep” them for referrals. If you’ve treated your clients well and gone above and beyond, asking for a referral and getting one, won’t be so hard. For a conference for instance, let your previous guests know that for next year, if they refer one person to the conference, they will receive a discount on their registration fee. Same goes for a summer camp, parents are always willing and motivated to save a buck or two, so offering them a discount or monetary value off the cost of a session for their child as a reward for bringing another family to camp will never backfire, so go for it! With an online registration software, allowing customers to input their promotions is easy!
Learn more about how a registration software can support an increase in your referral business. Request a free demo today!