Picture for a moment how much better your business would be if you had dozens of influential people recommending your products or services every single day of the year? How would that impact your revenue stream or repeat business? Chances are it would have a pretty dramatic and positive impact on all the key matrixes you use to measure success.
So what support or incentive would you be prepared to offer these people who are recommending your business to their friends and colleagues? I’m pretty sure most companies, large or small, would be tripping over themselves to ensure that these individuals would be receiving a constant flow of information and incentives to keep them motivated and interested in promoting you and your business.
This is not some make believe scenario. If you currently have any customers at all, you have the potential to create this lucrative virtual sales force. How so, you ask? It’s simple. Think about it for a second. These are businesses or individuals that had enough confidence to buy from you and for the most part are probably happy with their decision and in all likelihood would be willing to recommend you to their friends and family. So why don’t they? Well there are three good reasons
You Never Asked
The number one reason people don’t get referrals is that they never ask for them! When challenged, they say that they are uncomfortable asking or they don’t know how. As with most things in life, the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become. So start with a simple statement like “My business relies on referrals and I was hoping you could provide me with the names of three people that may be interested in my services/product”. You may only get one name but it’s one more than you had before. Even if don’t get any referrals, make it easy for them to do so at a later date. Make sure you leave them with a few of your business cards. Make a point of sending a regular email letting them know what’s new with your business and make you remind them you’re always receptive to their referrals.
They’re Too Busy
Well everybody is too busy. So this becomes a perfect opportunity to use the power of social media. With so many people using Facebook and Twitter get your client to post something about how pleased they were with your service along with your website url. Remember, most people like to talk about their recent purchases. For many it’s an opportunity to get confirmation that they made the right decision. So if they’re happy with their purchase, chances are they’ll be telling people and probably on Facebook.
Most people willingly provide referrals without any expectation of compensation. So just imagine how much more enthusiastic they might be if you actually created a formal reward program each successful referral. An auto service centre might give a free oil change to anybody who refers a new customer to their shop. A real estate agent could easily offer a dinner for two on referring a successful new listing or referring a buyer that makes a purchase. An auto dealer may offer a gas certificate for each successful referral.
The list of rewards is endless, but you must ensure they are enticing enough so that people are motivated to keep referring you. People love free. A free product or service is far more appealing than a percentage off coupon or having their name placed in a draw.
So start thinking about what you can do about creating your own virtual salesforce.
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2011
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