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12 Ways to Increase Business Referrals

Last updated July 6, 2016
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Business gurus will tell you that a business without a website is missing a marketing trick. In most cases they’re right, but it’s not necessarily true for businesses that have a successful business referral strategy.

Let me ask you this…. Would you be more likely to employ a web designer because someone recommended them or because you found then on a Google search?

I know what I’d do – a recommendation trumps any other marketing; every time. I want to use suppliers who’ve delighted their customers so much that the customer doesn’t even hesitate in referring them. They don’t refer for a fee – they do it because they want to help everyone; their supplier and you.

I know a business that hasn’t spent more than £50 on marketing in their 25-year history…. They put up a holding page on their website in 1998 and it’s still there – it’s never changed. But each year their business grows. There is always a pipeline of new business; everyone comes from a referral and very few ever buy elsewhere. And the £50? It was spent back in ‘95 on some mugs to give to customers.

As John Jantsch author of The Referral Engine said, Every customer from a referral and a referral from every customer. This business rocks that strategy.

The rules they live by:

  1. Do a great job (sell a great product) every time – no exceptions
  2. Always fix mistakes first and keep working hard to eliminate any mistakes
  3. Deliver a consistently consistent experience every time
  4. Don’t be a boring business – give people things to talk about
  5. Be authentic and be remarkable
  6. Be fair, open and honest – always
  7. Be patient – referrals don’t happen overnight
  8. Engage customers, build relationships
  9. Go the extra step when you can
  10. Refer others to your customers too
  11. Make it easy for people to refer you
  12. Engage employees, suppliers, in fact, your whole network

Not sure if your business is referable? First ask your employees if they’d recommend or refer the business. If not, you have some work to do. Happy employees do a great job and can generate lots of referrals if they are engaged. Then bite the bullet and ask some of your customers if they’d recommend you and if not why not. In fact, you’ll learn more from the customer who wouldn’t recommend you that those that do!

Still worried about asking a customer for a referral, then don’t panic: do a brilliant job but don’t be boring. Above all make it easy for people to refer to you.

And finally, as John Jantsch said ‘… the ideal referral system, based on a strategy that gets people voluntarily talking about your business, can eliminate the need to ever actually ask for referrals again…’

And one more for you…. Listen or read The Referral Engine by John Jantsch – you’ll be glad you listened to that recommendation!

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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