7 Super Easy Ways to Get More Referral Business
Unless you’re in a super unique industry your clients are probably inundated with offers from other businesses that compete with yours. There will always be someone newer, or with a more enticing offer, just around the corner. It can be intimidating trying to make your brand stand out from the rest.
That’s why usually the absolute best new client you can get is a referral from someone who’s already worked with you (and loved it).
The best way to grow that word of mouth business? Build strong relationships with clients who absolutely adore you. And the most reliable way to do that, aside from doing a damn good job, is making sure your name stays at the top of their mind, ready to share with a friend. (BTW, If you haven't heard of TOMA or Top Of Mind Advertising you should really look it up after this)
Staying top of mind can be tough though, and requires a lot of consistency and persistence, something I think a lot of us struggle with; myself included. Running a business is a lot of work. A. Lot. And the thought of adding another task (or five) to my already full to-do list sometimes makes me want to scream.
The older I get, and the longer I run a business, the more I realize that if I want to successfully build a new habit I have to make it as easy as possible to start, or I won't. My yoga mat is now a permanent fixture in front of our big back window, making it super easy for me to do a quick flow in the mornings (usually in my pajamas if we’re being honest). It has to be easy.
So let’s take that approach to setting up “touch points” in your workflow so that you’re regularly “touching” your client/potential clients, staying at the forefront of their minds, and growing that referral business.
Side note, I keep putting “touch" in quotes because c'mon... there has got to be a better way to phrase that. And I will caution you that actually touching your clients could result in some less than ideal (or perhaps pleasantly surprising… ) outcomes. But, since it's a common term in the business world, and I like a good double entendre, we’re going to run with it.
With that said, here are seven quick ways you can touch your clients today, if you’re feeling froggy.
- Send a thank you note right after the sale if you’re providing a service. You could use a service like Send Out Cards to automate this process, or just keep a basket of pretty notecards (plus stamps and a really nice pen) right on your desk. If you sell a physical product make sure to include a thank you note in your packaging.
- Remember their birthday. Send them something. Maybe a postcard, a promo code, a $5 Starbucks gift card, or a birthday hat made from recycled comic books.
- Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Right now, go follow up. At its core all this needs to be is a quick email saying “Hey Joe! How’s that whatsit you bought a few weeks ago working out? If you have any questions let me know!”. Or you could ask about a situation they were dealing with last time you talked. Ask how their mamanem is. Just reach out and let them know you're thinking about them.
- Follow them on Instagram. Comment on their posts with genuine interest, using real words. You know, like a human.
- Keep a spreadsheet or notebook of clients. Jot down points of interest when you talk to them so you can ask them about it next time you talk. Did they just have a baby? Buy a new house? Are they struggling with something? Make a note of it. Also note their birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever other relevant information you find out. This might seem cold and uber nerdy, but it’s a great way to make sure you remember the important stuff, and that means a lot to people.
- Pick one day every week to mail out cards, write follow up emails, send Facebook messages, or whatever your thing is. Write it on your calendar. This can take less than an hour if you’re organized, which is where your client spreadsheet comes in. Make a column there to note the last time you made contact with them.
- Don’t forget them at the end of the year. You don’t have to send Christmas cards, but the last quarter of the year is a great time to look back and show some appreciation to your clients. Try being unique and sending out Halloween cards, or creating a funny wrap-up video for the year to email out for a personal touch.
Those are just a handful of ways to make this task easier, but first and foremost just remember that your clients are people too. Even if you work with major corporations odds are you have a contact person you deal with regularly. At their very core people need to feel seen, loved, and respected. Meet that need, do good work, deliver things when you said you would, and you’ll be just fine.