Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendation are one of the best ways to get new clients. There are two main reasons why:
- When someone’s friend, family member or another contact they know, like and trust tells them that you are the person they should buy from, that’s a far warmer introduction than a mere advert, brochure or cold call. It means they’re much more likely to actually buy. Referrals convert into sales far more effectively than cold leads.
- Here’s a killer reason… Referrals are free! Millions of pounds are spent every day in the UK on advertising and marketing campaigns, yet the single most effective way to win new clients doesn’t need to cost you any money at all.
No surprise then that most business owners agree – in principle – that referrals or word-of-mouth advertising are the cheapest and best ways to get more clients. And yet we rarely come across a business that actually has any systems in place to generate those all-important referrals systematically.
And we certainly don’t come across businesses that are constantly inventing and testing new referral systems.
Think about your own business:
- What do you have in place to give you a constant stream of recommendations in a systematic way?
- And how often do you test new versions of those systems to see whether they give you even better results?
NB! I’m not asking about recommendations that just fall into your lap – I’m asking about recommendations that you get because you have referral systems.
Every business should use multiple referral systems. And every business should constantly be refining those systems and searching for new ways to get even more referrals.
You absolutely must have systems.
Here are six possible referral systems you could introduce:
- Client questionnaires that include a “Who else do you know who could benefit in the same way that you have?” type of question.
- Your team asking that same question every time they talk to clients.
- Joining a referrals club like BNI or BRX.
- Giving your clients multiple sets of your card, brochure and special offer literature to pass on to their friends and contacts – and perhaps even rewarding them in some way when they do.
- Systematically asking for recommendations on LinkedIn.
- And in some businesses, you could even make it one of your terms of business that if a client is happy they WILL automatically recommend you to other people.
These are just a few of the possibilities. And the great thing about referral systems is that, unlike advertising, they won’t cost you anything.
So, thinking about your systems… How many do you have? How many more do you think you should have? How many new referrals systems are you going to test? And how many extra clients do you think they will help you to win?
We have recently published a book that helps business owners, such as yourselves, grow their businesses using our tried and tested formula. To find out more and download your free copy, head over to The No Brainer Business Book.
Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.