Currently there is a lot of competition for businesses out there, especially in the service industry. According to a recent study, over 84% of the U.S. economy is service based. This includes restaurants, doctors, lawyers, software developers, media planners, and many more. So how can you get people to come to YOUR business and not others? Research shows that people usually go to business they trust, so they search for reviews online or ask their peers for recommendations. Word of mouth and referrals are a great (and free) way to advertise your business and get new clientele; they also build a company’s trustworthiness and credibility. It is important to note that in order to get these referrals, business owners should have a well executed plan that satisfies their current clients enough for them to spread the word. If you’re a business owner or seller, make sure that you deliver what you promise in order to be referable.
Know Your Customers
Treat those who visit your business differently based on their buying status. If they are new customers, make them feel welcomed and appreciated, offer them promotions, give them a tour of the office or shop, and make sure they have a unique experience they will remember and will want to share with their peers. If they are regular customers, offering them special promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs are great ways to show appreciation.
Always Ask for Feedback
Feedback is a great way to find out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on. Surveys are the most popular and effective way to receive feedback, especially when they are anonymous. This way people can feel free to be as honest as possible and give the best recommendations without having the pressure of the owners or managers knowing who they are and what they said. Ask your customers to rate your products, your services, their experience, and ask them if they would recommend your business to others. Although anonymous surveys can help you get honest feedback, these are mostly going to be about improvements you should work on, and they should probably stay within the company. One way you can use surveys to get referrals is by giving customers the option to put their name at the bottom of the survey to authorize the business to use their comments for marketing purposes. You can then use the comments and share them on your website and social media platforms for other people to see.
Remember to Say ‘Thank You’
This is something our parents taught most of us since we were little, and it is honestly a great way to make people smile and feel appreciated. A simple “thank you” is usually enough, but if you’re feeling generous, giving away a $5 gift card or a sample of your products to people who refer you will not only serve as a thank you, but also as an incentive to keep spreading the word.
Whatever your strategy is, never try to bribe your customers for referrals. Do it in a way that won’t make them feel pressured.