Growing a business can be tough. Getting in front of customers so they’ll buy your service or product can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of constantly trying to get brand new customers, ask yourself this: have you invested in the customers you already have? Doing so can get them to give you a referral, which can be an incredible source for new customers.
Referrals are a powerful tool to get new customers. It’s based on the idea of social proof, which means that someone will buy a service or product simply because someone they trust told them it’s good. Think of examples in your own life. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to buy something if your best friend, family member or close colleague recommended it to you?
Even if you’ve only had a handful of customers so far, they can help you get new customers through referrals. But how do you get referrals?
Here are three ways to make the most of your existing customers to get referrals.
1. Make sure the customer experience you provide is excellent
A customer’s experience with your business begins as soon as they discover you. Whether they interact with an online ad you’re running, visit your website or find you on a service matching website, you need to show up. This means making sure your online presence is professional, from the logo to the images and language you use. When a customer calls or emails you, make sure to follow up immediately. Make the process of booking a service time as simple and convenient as possible. If you’re talking to them on the phone, be kind, courteous and make them feel like a priority. When you are performing the service, make sure you’re on time, the service provided is beyond excellent, and that you are personable. These actions play a role in how the customers remember you– and you want them to remember you fondly.
2. Follow Up and Stay in Touch
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses perform a service and don’t follow up with their customers. Before you perform your service, make sure to get their phone number and email address so you can stay in touch. Once you are finished with the service you’ve provided, make sure to leave a couple of business cards and ask the customer to please share with their friends if they were happy with working with you. (But we all know that business cards get lost or tossed, so don’t give out too many.) To make sure they save your contact info, send them a text message thanking them for doing business with you and again asking them to refer you to friends if they were happy working with you. Email them a week later with a thank-you follow-up email, where you can also ask them to follow you online and provide your website. Staying in front of your customers is crucial, so set up a monthly newsletter, so they are constantly reminded of who you are and what you do, so when they are asked for a referral, they’ll remember you and be able to share your contact info.
3. Ask for a Google Review
Google Reviews are some of the most trusted reviews online. When you don’t know much about a business, but you see they have a five-star Google review, you automatically trust them more. But beware–the reviews can have the opposite effect as well. If you perform your service poorly, are rude or late, your customers can also leave you bad reviews, which can destroy your reputation. So make sure every interaction a customer has with you is stellar!
To ask for a Google review, you can email your customer within a few days of completing the service and thank them for hiring you. You can use a line like, “Thank you so much for hiring (Business Name) to (service performed). It was an absolute pleasure working with you! If you also enjoyed working with us, would you please leave us a Google review? You can easily leave one by clicking the link below!” Adding the link within the email makes it easy for the customer to leave a review, and the easier you can make the process, the more likely they will be to leave one.
Ensuring that each interaction you have with your client is excellent will help them remember you by associating a positive emotion with your business. It’s not only your job to make sure that happens, but also to follow up and stay in front of your existing customers so they remember who you are and can then refer you to those they know. Once word of mouth is ignited, your business can gain an excellent reputation both on and offline to become a fierce competitor in your industry.