Benchmark Business Group

Are You Refer-able?

September 6, 2016

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Personal introduction, referral, recommendation - whatever the word or phrase you use, it can be defined as "your current customers bringing others to your business to also be customers." All businesses want their customers to have a remarkable experience. Even better, is a customer having such a remarkable experience, they want to share that experience with others. 

Often business owners think "by supplying an excellent product and giving excellent service, customers will refer us." This philosophy makes your referrals unpredictable, unknown, and gives control of the outcome to your customers. It's not much different than having your customers plan your marketing strategy and complete your marketing activities. Then, they don't give you feedback, results, and totally leave you out of any marketing communication. Needless to say, this isn't a sound strategy and we recommend you don't leave marketing or your referral strategy up to your customers. Taking the time to plan and implement a strategy for referrals is necessary in every business. 

So how do you make your business refer-able, a planned process, and intentional? This month we will help you to set the stage for customers to refer others to you. To start, look into the point of view from your customer. There are many reasons a customer refers others to your business, here are three:

  1. The customer enjoyed the experience so much, they want to share it: When a customer's experience is positive beyond expectations, they are impressed. Most people, including your customers, like to share these experiences. Therefore, if you insure your customers have a positive, gratifying experience beyond expectation, they will most likely invite others to have the same experience.
    • Tip: Make sure you put the old saying into action of "over delivering and under promising." For example, if you promise delivery within 5 business days, make sure it arrives in 5 days or less.
  2. The customer wants to help your business succeed: These customers have a more personal relationship with you and your business. They enjoy doing business with you because you bring value, value them, and serve a purpose. These are rich customer relationships. What makes a rich customer relationship? They are customers who not only know "the what" and "the how" of your business, but they also believe in "the why" of your business. They see the greater purpose you are achieving, not just a profit but also making a difference in your community or society as a whole. 
    • Tip: When your team volunteers and gives back to the community, make it known and let others know you care what goes on in the community and you want to make it better.
  3. The customer knows others who can benefit from your products or services: When a customer fully knows and believes in your products and services, then they also know who else can benefit from your products and services. They are more likely to think of your business and recommend your business to others in situations and conversations in the future.
    • Tip: Take the opportunity, when you can, to let your customers know they are who you want to do business with and want more customers just like them.

You may not be able to guarantee each customer will refer you. However, your business can intentionally plan the experience your customers will have and be creative in that plan so you have a better chance of being referred. To start, uncover what needs to happen for customers to bring others to your business. Our challenge to you this week is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and uncover what needs to happen for you (the customer) to want others to experience your business also.

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