One of the easiest, and in my opinion best, ways to build a small business is from referrals. Building a business off of referrals saves you time and money on marketing. Not that you never have to market your business, but you’ll be able to spend less time and money marketing your business if you are able to get referrals.
Another benefit of referrals is that it gives you the upper hand. When you are referred to a new customer or client, they’ve already heard great things about you. In fact, if you’re really using referrals to build your business, these new customers and clients will come to you.
This gives you the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to anyone who comes your way. You’ll be able to more picky about who you work with and what type of work you do. It also gives you the ability to raise your rates more easily as these new people are more likely to say yes to your rates since they already know how awesome you are.
But how do you do get those referrals?
Here are 5 tips to help you start building your business off of referrals.
1. Do Good Work
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t do great work, you won’t get referrals from current or former clients. In general, the better service you provide, and greater customer support you offer, the more your current clients and customers will use your services. Plus they’ll also tell their friends about their great experience, which brings you new business.
2. Ask Current Clients to Refer You
Most of the time, the reason you aren’t getting referrals, even if you are providing great service, is because you haven’t asked for them!
Tell you customers and clients about your desire to grow your business. Then, ask your clients to refer you! Don’t forget that important step. By not asking you are hurting your chances at more business.
Most of the time, your clients want to help your business grow. But they don’t think to refer you to others if you don’t ask them to!
You can make it easy on them, and yourself, by telling them what types of clients or customers you are looking for and how they can describe your services to their friends.
3. Know When to Ask
Ideal times to ask for referrals is right after they complement you, or right before a final deal closes. If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services. Knowing when to ask for referrals is just as important as asking for them at all.
4. Keep it Simple
Make sure you tell your clients how they can refer you, and where they can go to write you a review. Give them an easy way to provide feedback, submit a new lead, or share your services through their social media. The easier you make it for them to tell about you, the more likely they’ll be to refer you. Also, be sure to periodically remind them to refer you. Everyone gets busy, so a nice reminder in your monthly or quarterly communications, or even a gentle nudge, will at least get them to think about it.
5. Thank Your Clients
Last but not least, be sure to thank your clients. It’s always important to thank your clients for working with you and for referring your business to their peers. Without them, and their referrals, you may not have a successful business. This might mean sending out a nice gift if they sent a large new client your way.
Thanking them not only works as a reminder of your business, but as a relationship building strategy. Remember, growing your relationships with current clients will help you grow potential clients in the future.