“It’s fine for you to say that you provide a great service, but when someone else says it, it instantly has more impact… especially when it comes from a trusted friend or contact.” — From “Building a Referral Friendly Business”
Close to seventy percent of US consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase if a friend or family member recommends it. Creating a referral program has the potential for a high return on a small investment of time and money.
Make It Easy
- Increase the likelihood that a referral will be acted on.
- Give you a chance to control the message that gets passed on.
- Provide your clients something of value to share with others.
For example, if a client mentions the needs of a friend, give him or her a brochure, newsletter, or information sheet that speaks to that person’s situation. (Make sure your contact information is on everything you hand out.)
Three Direct Ways to Pass On Your Name
There’s no substitute for simply asking your clients to recommend their friends and family to you. Here are three good tools for helping clients pass on your name.
- A special recommendation card. You can make an attractive and effective referral card using a postcard. On the postcard, write something like, “Bring this in for $15 off your first session. For appointments or more information, call me at….”
- A business card. Make a special version of your business card with a referral message. Make a version of your regular business card with a special offer on the back.
- The “combo” offer. With one offer, boost referrals and reach out to people who may or may not be your regular clients. Mail a special postcard with a discount offer to friends, relatives, colleagues, and clients including inactive or irregular clients. Below the offer write, “If you’re not going to use this, feel free to pass it on to a friend who would like to try my services.”
Opportunities to Make Connections
There are many ways to bring your wish for referrals to your clients’ attention.
- When clients compliment your work or say what a difference you’ve made in their lives, ask if you can give them some business cards to pass on. One very effective time to ask for referrals is after a treatment, for instance when clients are rescheduling.
- Send a letter to regular clients expressing appreciation for their business. Include some business cards, and ask them to pass them on.
- Include your referral business cards or recommendation cards with your brochures or newsletters wherever you display or mail them. Also leave a stack on your desk, so it’s easy to ask clients to take a few with them.