How many hats do you wear at your business?
No matter how well you perform as the main salesperson for your business, there will always be certain key salespeople available who can communicate the benefits of your products or services better than anyone.
Are you recognizing and rewarding these important people?
Are you encouraging them to reach out to as many prospects as possible?
Are these key salespeople loyal to you and your business?
Do you even know who these critical salespeople are?
You should. They are your customers.
Customers are the most overlooked and under appreciated marketing assets a business has. And just like regular sales employees, your customers need to be motivated to sell on your behalf.
Aside from answering a specific question from a friend or family member, people rarely start up a conversation about a positive experience they had with a business. It just doesn’t often happen. Customers will tell an average of nine people about a bad experience with a business and no one about a good experience.
If you sit for an hour in the waiting room at the doctor’s office you will tell people about it. If the waitress brings you a roast beef sandwich and you’re a vegetarian you will be sure to mention it when you go home. But when the doctor sees you right away and the waitress brings you your salad it doesn’t cross your mind to say a word about the experiences to anyone.
So if good service and reliable products don’t motivate your customers to spread the good word about your business, what does? Have you tried asking your customers to sell on your behalf?
It’s like asking someone to dance.
Take a deep breath
Work up the nerve
And Just Ask!
Ask your customers to mention your business to their friends and family. Ask your customers to share with you their friends and family members who could benefit from your services. If your customers are pleased with their experience then they may be willing to share some names and numbers with you.
There are more organized ways to request the assistance of your customers as well. Implement a formal referral program. Every time someone comes in and mentions that a current customer referred them, reward that current customer. Keep track of referrals in your customer database and enable customers to accumulate significant discounts. Provide the business-generating customers with free services as a sincere thank you. Recognize them with a hand written thank you note. Heck, reward them with cash.
Present each customer with an offer to meet with, give guidance to, or advise anyone important to them who might have a need for your services or products. Mention that there is no expectation of purchase, but a desire to offer the value that your customer appreciates to his or her friends, family, and coworkers.
A loyal customer who brings in new customers is incredibly valuable to your business. You are spending a specific amount of marketing money to bring in one customer, except now with referrals you are acquiring more than one customer. With a successful referral program you are slashing your marketing costs per customer.
Implementing a successful referral program is the highest leverage marketing tactic that you can carry out.