For a lot of businesses, both b2c and b2b, referrals and WOM are popular and vital ways that businesses get new business. Friends of friends or introductions or connections at networking. A referral is “an act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.”
When it comes to referring, the phrase “It’s who you know, not what you know,” comes into play with referrals. Would you agree? People buy from people and people buy from those they know like and trust.
Referrals can be given or asked for just because and sometimes referrals are paid for, known as a referral scheme. Referrals can be paid for or just thanks publicly or vouchers, flowers and so on. Incentivising for referrals is an option.
If you want expertise in this area, do contact/connect with Dave Plunkett of the Collaboration Junkie https://www.collaborationjunkie.com/
The importance of referrals
Some business owners are shy of asking for referrals, as well as testimonials and quotes. Why is this? If you have done a great job and the client is satisfied, then why not ask. They are very likely to say yes as they will appreciate the work you did and will probably be ok to publicly thank you and help you further by making a referral.
As with most things, there is a time and place to ask. At the end of a project that went well is a good time and prior to a contract renewal can also be a good time.
Referrals are part of your marketing strategy
Referral marketing is a marketing strategy that many SME’s I know use. Such a strategy can grow your customer base through word of mouth (WOM) recommendations by empowering and encouraging your existing customers and contacts to spread the word about you within their networks. It turns your customers into reliable advocates for your brand. They are doing your marketing for you, as well as your marketing, which doubles up the efforts.
Some businesses I know have built their business on asking for and receiving referrals.
Giving and receiving
As well as asking for referrals from clients and contacts, it is also to give them where you can and where relevant/appropriate.
A testimonial or referral saying something like Nicole is lovely and really helpful is of course great, but something specific showcasing the work you do or how you help or you add value would be even better. For example Nicole’s marketing plan for our accountancy practice was created bespoke for us and her help to implement it gave us added value and consistency. For example.
Having a referral or testimonial per niche you work in is ideal too.
Here are some of mine https://pinpointmarketingconsultancy.co.uk/testimonials/
One client said ““I went to Nicole for guidance on specific marketing areas, such as social media as well as general marketing advice. Her input has been so useful and she has a wealth of knowledge to tap into. I recommend her wholeheartedly.”
Making referrals work for you
What is your referral rate? Often referred to as a percentage, what’s yours? For example, let’s say that your referral rate is 1% this means that 1 in every 100 purchases comes from your referral programme or referral scheme.
Seth Godin said, “the secret to marketing is no secret at all: “word of mouth is all that matters.”
So when you are creating your marketing strategy and plan and factoring what marketing channels to include and incorporate, consider referrals and WOM as two of the channels for new business and for more upselling and cross selling too. Most of my new business or repeat business comes from referrals and intros, as well as LinkedIn and networking.