While you’re asking customers about their needs and how your products and services can better meet them, why not ask them for referrals?
Most people don’t. They fall victim to the assumption that customers who don’t offer referrals don’t have any. That can be a big mistake. As far as I’m concerned a customer referral is a “free sale.” The marketing dollars you would have spent to get that person to your door drops to the bottom line because with a customer referral you walk through an open door.
There are many ways to ask for customer referrals. “Bob, is there anyone you know who might also benefit from our customer loyalty seminars? I’d be happy to give them a call and fill them in on how we might be helpful to their company, too.” Or, “Susan, you’ve told me how pleased you’ve been with our consulting service. We do most of our business with people we meet through happy customers, like you. Do any names or companies we might contact come to mind?”
Or, how about including the ask for referrals in your newsletter, or other customer communications, saying, “If you know of others who might benefit from our service, please pass along their names, and we’ll get some information out to them immediately!” or, “We’d like to increase the circulation of our newsletter. If you enjoy it every month, perhaps some of your friends will, too. Please fax us the names of three (or more) people you think would benefit from our newsletter, and we’ll rush them a free copy — no obligation.” For email newsletters, there are plenty of ways to share content and allow your readers to refer their friends.
One effective way to ask for referrals is to state your request in a letter you send to your regular customers. Here’s an example:
We’ve enjoyed a great working relationship over the years and I’m confident in our ability to continue to serve you in the future. Like any company, we need to grow to stay strong. We’d like your help.
Once a year we ask all our customers to share with us the names of colleagues who might benefit from using our services.
By asking our existing customers to recommend us to potential new customers we do two things: first we’re able to reduce our advertising costs and spend more on customer support, and second, we bring more people like you into our “family” of clients, and we love that idea.
Would you be kind enough to recommend us to two friends? Just send us their names and we’ll send out a friendly “no pressure” letter of introduction, an overview of what we do, and a copy of our newsletter.
To thank you, we’ll send you a copy of our latest audio — Building Customer Loyalty — with our compliments.
Thank you for being a loyal customer and thank you for helping us grow our community of like-minded caring companies.
Best Regards, JoAnna
Get the point? Ask for those customer referrals! If you’re doing a good job for your customers, they’ll want to help you, but you’ve got to ask first. It’s easy to set into place a system that will help you get customer referrals, and generate sales through them. The only thing you have to do is set it in motion.