Hi, I’m Chartered Marketer, Tracy Heatley. As I small business marketing and networking specialist, I would like to share some practical advise on how to harness the power of referrals and networking for your business.
As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to grow your brand and increase your customer base. The power of referrals and networking is one of the most effective ways to do this. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get referrals from customers and through networking, whether you are just starting out or already have a well-established business.
Getting Referrals From Customers
One of the best ways to attract new customers is by getting referrals from existing ones. Tap into your customer base! Your current customers are more likely than anyone else to understand your services and products, so they can give potential customers an honest opinion about what you offer. Here’s how you can get referrals from your current customers:
Ask Directly For Referrals
Asking directly for referrals is often the simplest way of gaining them. Most people are happy to help if they have had a positive experience with your business, especially if you provide incentives such as discounts or freebies in return for successful referrals. Personalise your request by asking each customer directly over email or in person. This will show that you value their opinion and make them more likely to respond positively.
Offer Incentives To Get Referrals
Offer incentives because they are great motivators for customers to refer their friends, family members, or business associates to your business. Consider offering discounts, freebies, gift cards, or any other type of reward that would be attractive enough for customers to want to refer their contacts. You should also set clear rules about when these rewards will be given and how many successful referrals need to be made before they can be redeemed. Always do this in advance, so that you’re offering something enticing whilst making certain that you can budget for referrals rewards too.
Leverage Social Media
When you’re planning social media, make sure that you leverage social media- Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. These are great social media platforms where potential customers may find out about your business through recommendations from existing customers. Encourage your loyal clients to leave reviews on social media platforms so that prospective buyers can read up on what others think about your product/service before making a purchasing decision. You could also use social media campaigns such as hashtag challenges or competitions as another way of incentivising people into recommending your services publicly online. Think about his as you’re working out how to develop your small business digital marketing strategy.
Networking For Referrals
Networking is one of the most important strategies entrepreneurs should use when trying to attract new leads for their businesses. You never know who might become a valuable referral source! It’s important for entrepreneurs to attend events related to their industry; this way they can build relationships with other professionals who may eventually become referral sources down the road. Additionally, attending referral based networking meetings allows entrepreneurs to meet potential partners who could help them grow their businesses. Referral connections could end up providing valuable advice or resources that would otherwise be difficult (or expensive) for them acquire on their own. Here’s what entrepreneurs should keep in mind when networking:
Be proactive and don’t just wait around in the corner hoping someone notices you. Introduce yourself and start conversations with everyone in attendance. Remember that if no immediate connections come about, there may be future opportunities down the line thanks to those initial conversations! It never hurts to put in too much effort. After all, the worst thing that happens is that you don’t make any connections at all! Though, that’s unlikely. Moreover, it is often the person you least expect who will give you the best referral that you’ve ever had! Way up the benefits of getting referrals by focusing on proactive versus reactive networking. Sow the seeds now for your future networking success.
Networking follow-up is crucial. Follow-up after each networking event or meeting that you attend. It’s important that you follow up with people who expressed an interest in learning more about what you do and why they should become a referral source for your business. Following up shows people that you value their time and effort (and keeps them interested!) Use different methods such as emails, phone calls, texts etc., depending on which method works best with each individual connection! The fruit is in the follow-up, so learn to be a successful connector.
Getting referrals from customers and through networking is key when it comes to growing any business successfully; it helps bring new leads into the fold while also creating lasting relationships between yourself and other business professionals that could prove invaluable later down the road! With time, effort and practice you could truly harness the power of referrals and networking for your business.
I hope this highlights why relationship marketing works and assists with revving up your referrals. As a networking trainer and small business marketing specialist, I know that when done correctly these strategies can help take small businesses from nothing into something truly special – so why not give it a try? Good luck!
About The Author
Written by Tracy Heatley who is an award winning Chartered Marketer, with over twenty five years small business marketing mentoring, consultancy, and networking expertise. There are more strategy, marketing, and networking blogs available for you, along with other free resources. These include Tracy’s award winning Podcast, Be Better With Tracy Heatley. Podcast episodes are also available on all major podcast platforms including: Amazon Audible, Apple and Spotify.