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Seven Ways To Get Positive Referrals

For many businesses, referrals and word-of-mouth campaigns are their bread-and-butter. This is rightfully so, as the closing ratio for referred leads is about 60 percent (compared to just 10 percent for non-qualified leads), according to world-renowned sales trainer Tom Hopkins. So how can you encourage more referrals and boost this profitable marketing strategy?


Have the best possible business and service.

This may sound obvious, but if you put the vast majority of your focus on answering the question -- “What can I do for the consumer?” – the referrals will naturally come pouring in. Sam Bakhtiar, CEO of the Fit Concepts franchise in California, says he transformed his fitness boot camp classes into a social club – complete with group trips to the grocery store, nutrition seminars, dinners, and movie nights – which has turned his $30K/year business into a $2.4 million empire.


Thank the customers.

Sending out a card or postcard thanking a customer for his or her business can go a long way. In addition to thanking them for their business, you can also mention that your primary source of business is referrals. Sometimes customers just need to hear that you need their help and they spring into action.


Offer incentives for referrals.

When you ask a customer for a referral, be sure you offer something in return. For instance, Sam’s fitness boot camp offers a month of free service for the referrer, as well as a $100-off card for the new referral customer. Therefore, customers see this as a win for themselves and a win for their friends or family as well.


Harness the power of social networking.

Social networking has made referrals much easier to get. You can publish funny, witty, engaging or interesting content and receive an instant referral for your business every time someone clicks “share” or “like” and broadcasts the action to their entire network.


Set up a cross-promotion.

Look for ideal partners in complementary niches within your community to pair up for a promotion. For example, General Motors paired up with the Rochester Red Wings. They were able to generate 500 leads per hour by having baseball fans fill out a contact survey form in exchange for a free t-shirt (which had the Rochester Red Wings logo on the front and a GM logo on the back). In this case, the Red Wings were de facto vouching for General Motors as a “cool brand” to do business with.


Hand out business cards or promo cards.

Essentially, you want to make it as easy as humanly possible for your customers to refer you to a friend. In the past, business cards were routinely handed out to encourage the transfer of information. A new tactic includes handing out plastic coupon “gift” cards. At Sam’s club, he puts these “$100 off” plastic cards near the exit, so exercisers can grab one on their way home from the gym to share the new member discount with a friend.


Conduct a survey.

Show customers you care by asking for their feedback in a brief questionnaire. Be sure to include the question, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” You may also include a spot asking for the contact information of three people who are “most likely to enjoy” your products and/or services.


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Related Articles:
PayMo Blog: 10 Tips To Boost Your Referrals
Entrepreneur: 10 Ways To Strengthen Referral Relationships


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