Benchmark Business Group

So You Got the Referral, Now What?

September 27, 2016

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This month we are setting you up to be refer-able. We looked at why you want to be pro-active in planning a referral strategy. Also, we shared ideas to implement a better, consistent experience to your customers. Basically, setting the groundwork so your business is refer-able. Finally this month we want to discuss what to do after a customer refers you. 
When creating your referral strategy don't dismiss the importance of follow-up. When customers refer you to others, they want to know if they should refer again. Therefore, part of your referral strategy should be circling back to them on how the referral is going and letting them know their efforts are appreciated. Below are a few strategies to follow-up with customers who refer and some activities on how to implement them.
Giving Thanks
"Thank you!" We can remember our parents making sure manners were instilled in our everyday conversation and interaction with others. Manners and politeness should also carry into your business, specifically customers who refer. People want to know their contribution was appreciated. Thanking customers for referring others to your business sends the message that their efforts are appreciated, welcomed and helpful. And it sets the tone for them to continue referring you. It can be as simple as having a supply of "thank you for the referral" postcards to send when you know a customer referred you. Or, you could train your team to thank a customer on the spot when they come back to your business with a friend. Bottom line, a simple "thank you for the referral" is not only polite, but can also be very profitable.
Along with the simple thank you, you may include a more formal process to following-up with customers who refer. This can be done in several ways. One example would be to keep customers informed on those they referred (this is especially beneficial for businesses that have a long sales cycle). How would this work? You simply send an email or note to the customer every so often letting them know you are still in communication with a person they referred. And, the more you can get your name in front of a customer, the more they think of you for additional sales and others to bring to your business. Another plus, it shows you are committed to working with the people they bring to your business and they are treated well.
Everyone wants to be appreciated, even your customers. Many businesses accomplish this in diverse ways. One example is having an appreciation event for referring. With a small budget for invitations, refreshments and balloons, you can invite several customers into your business for the purpose to thank them for being a customer who refers. An appreciation event is also the opportunity to let them know you still want their assistance in bringing you customers.
You may have a well-defined target market and customer profile. However, your customers who refer others probably don't know it. Customers may be more than happy to bring others to your business, but they don't know who to bring or who to refer. To educate your customers on whom and how to refer is part of your referral strategy. It can be in small groups or with individual customers. Either way it offers the chance to educate your customers on who is your ideal customer. And, don't forget to give them some suggestions on how to refer you. You can give them simple language for the introduction, or offer to make the introduction yourself on their behalf. Educating your customers in this way has several benefits. It can increase your customer loyalty and set the stage so they are more equipped to refer.
In conclusion to our month of being more refer-able, the key is to create a referral strategy. Don't just leave it to chance for your customers to bring others to your business. Be pro-active and plan how you will set-up your business and customers to bring in more customers. No matter how small or simple of a strategy, it can make a big difference to resales, retention, and revenue. Here at BBG we see it all the time, little things can make a big impact.

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