As small business owners, we constantly strive for growth – both personally and professionally. When it comes to the latter, there are few things more powerful and valuable than the almighty referral. But, unless you are a popular celebrity or professional sports athlete (which most of us aren’t!), neither growth nor referrals happen overnight.
They require constant attention to detail, strategy and action to produce results, and while it’s easy to neglect them or put them off with all the other distractions and disruptions in our lives, doing so will keep you from reaching your true potential and succeeding.
So, here are 4 ways to land referrals that our team at Sound Business Services has found particularly helpful:
#1: Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Referrals
Like that unpaid invoice, we are sometimes hesitant to ask a client to do something, afraid that it might put them out of their comfort zone or strike a nerve and lead to a backlash. When it comes to landing referrals, this is a big no no!
Landing referrals takes action and strategy. You must be willing to ask your customers for referrals to grow your business. More than you think would be happy to do so, and all you have to do is ask!
Start with the customers you feel are most loyal and valued, as they will be the most likely to go to bat for you. They’re also the people who will show others the difference you have made for their businesses and in their lives.
#2: Have a Value Proposition
When it comes to attracting prospects and landing referrals, you must have a value proposition. In other words, you must be able to lay out what differentiates you and your business. Whether it’s a certain niche, the quality and delivery of your product or service, the performance of your staff, or a combination of all these things and more, your audience must be able to connect with you and be motivated to choose you.
If any of these areas are lacking, and your value proposition isn’t clear and compelling, your prospects and even customers will likely shop elsewhere, as the competition is fierce and they can find what they want anywhere, any time.
#3: Market, Market, Market!
Grabbing the attention of prospects and customers requires a strategic marketing effort. At SBS, we consistently work on this, and while it does require a big investment in time (and some money), it will be worth it if you go about it the right way!
For us, it meant first building a website that was both eye appealing and informative. As the foundation of what we do, we knew that the website had to keep our audience on the page and interested in learning more. That’s why design and content are both so important, and if either is lacking, the site could keep you from growth and referral success.
In developing your website, it’s vital to offer a menu of services. Not everyone knows exactly what you do, and that even includes your referral sources/current customers. Providing this menu not only shows prospects what you offer and how you can help them, but also lets existing customers know everything you do in case they want to expand their business and dive into all the services you offer.
As you know, we also have a blog and a monthly newsletter. Like the website, we’ve found these to be excellent vehicles for reaching, and connecting with, customers and prospects. It’s the combination of these three things, along with other strategies, that yield the results you are looking for.
#4: Rely on Your Staff
As small business owners, we must be great leaders, and that means accepting the fact that we can’t do everything and be everywhere at once. Therefore, we must be willing to delegate.
Finding and landing referrals is a perfect time for delegation. While you must also work hard to get referrals and establish connections, it’s truly a team effort. So, don’t be afraid to appoint some staff to work on landing referrals. These folks can personally go out of their way to connect with certain referral sources and prospects, perhaps checking in with them on a regular basis and even highlighting and discussing significant events in their lives. It’s all about going the extra mile and showing how much you care and value them.
Let us Know How we Can Help!
As you can see, landing referrals is a constant challenge, but one that you must be willing to take on if you want to grow and reach untapped potential.
This list is by no means everything you can do to land referrals, but I hope it’s a good start. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us today! We are more than happy to discuss strategies for landing referrals and helping implement them.