Let’s say your car has broken down, and you’re looking for a car repair shop that can fix it. You weren’t happy with the last place that repaired your car, so you want to find a new one that is affordable, trustworthy, and gets the job done.
You do a quick online search of car repair shops in your area and get thousands of results. Then you remember an old friend who is an avid car fan, and you call him to ask if he knows of any car repair shops. Now, who’s opinion would you trust more? A random result from the internet or someone you know personally.
Most, if not all, people would answer that they would trust a friend more; this is the power of a referral. A referral happens when a person recommends a business to another person. Eighty-five per cent of all business comes from referrals, and nine out of ten buyers will begin with a referral. Your first lead funnel should be a referral funnel.
How to Improve Your Referral Process
To turbocharge referrals for your business, the first thing to do is ensure that you are providing a great customer experience. Without this, any referral program will not work. Next, look at how deliberate and structured your referral process is. You cannot just rely on or hope for random referrals to come your way. Your business should have a referral process in place.
Below is an example of a referral program. While this can change depending on the company or organization’s needs, the steps below are typically the most effective:
Four Essential Steps of a Referral Program
1. Keep your customers engaged
After ensuring that your customers are happy with your products or services, keep in touch regularly. You can do this by doing frequent check-ins via email newsletters, providing informative content via blog posts, and offering repeat customer promos. These initiatives nurture a long-term relationship that keeps you top of mind when someone asks them for a referral.
2. Use customer referral templates and scripts
Using customer referral templates makes it easier to inform your customers about your referral program. Use these templates to remind customers about your company and encourage them to consider who might benefit from your products and services.
There are many templates online that you can tweak to fit your needs. Your company can use email, messenger services like Facebook, or phone calls to promote your referral program. Make sure you thank your customers and ask them if they know anyone who might need your help. Include your referral incentive in the template, such as a gift card or discount on their next purchase.
3. List possible referral sources
Go through your database of customers, including current customers and past customers. Look at leads that were not closed, your suppliers, and other vendors. Make a list of who you think will advocate for your business and who you believe will respond positively to your referral program. Once you have your list, prepare to get in touch with them through the channel that you think will work best for them.
4. Promote, promote, promote
Once you have your referral templates, incentives, and sources in place, it’s time to get to work! Start contacting your list to tell them about your referral program. Keep track of those who reply positively and those you may need to follow up with. Always say thank you and give incentives as promised.
An effective referral program can turbocharge referrals much faster than other marketing strategies. Imagine an additional 30 people marketing your business on your behalf. Remember that referral alchemy comes from building trust and growing relationships between you and your customer.