Winning customers and keeping them is a huge part building a successful business, but the icing on the cake is having those customers send their friends, family and associates to you as a referral. The idea of Building an Unbreakable Chain of Referrals is simple: Win one customer, get a referral from that customer. Convert that referral into a customer, get another referral from them, etc. All you have to do is make each customer happy enough with what you have done for them for them to recommend one other person to you.
It sounds simple, and it is simple, but many sales people fail to create this chain, or maybe they don’t even know that the chain is there, which in itself is a failure.
Anyone who regularly wins business through client referrals knows that it makes a huge difference to their bottom line. For those of you who haven’t been able to build a successful referral chain, you need to pay closer attention to what goes on after you make that initial sale and prove to your customer that you deserve to do business with their friends, family or associates.
Even a one off sale needs to be treated as the start of a long relationship and not just a single transaction. It’s often the little things that we do that speak volumes about any relationship, for example when a garage sells a new car and gives the customer a bouquet of flowers when they pick the keys up. The excitement of buying an expensive car is often trumped by the surprise of getting a bunch of flowers on the front seat.
Take a look at these two examples that I came across this week.
The Dental Practice
A Dentist wanted a way to try and stay in touch with his patient base and tried various methods including an email newsletter, that had very little or no reaction from the patients. This changed when he decided to send a hand written birthday card to each of his patients.
This simple gesture, that took him about half an hour a week to do, had a far bigger than expected effect on his patients. He started receiving thank you cards and gifts in return! Of course the bigger benefit was that people came back and booked in to the practice because they were less intimidated, they felt valued and welcomed and knew that their business was appreciated.
In short, they felt less like patients going for a clinical procedure and more like valued friends. As a result of feeling happier about the dentist they mentioned his name and his practice to other people, new patients have come in to register for “the Dentist who sends out cards!”
The Personal Trainer
A Personal Trainer who was just starting his business had to spend most of his time networking and trying to grow his customer base up from zero. Because he always wanted more clients, every new client he worked with was given the same offer – if they gave him a successful referral they’d get a free training session. He found that although his clients were pleased with the offer, they weren’t following through with the promised referrals.
The moment things changed for him was when one of his clients did send him a great referral, in fact she was so pleased with the results of her training that she recommended him to three of her friends. The personal trainer was so delighted with the three new referrals that in return he gave the original customer a gift, which was a pair of new boxing gloves, as she’d particularly enjoyed the boxing training they’d done.
That same customer has gone on to refer several more new clients to the Personal Trainer, and many of those referrals have also gone on to be long term clients who have also offered referrals themselves.
What made the difference here was understanding that a free session of something that his clients were already willing to pay for was a nice bonus, but didn’t make his clients feel special. However giving the gift, which actually cost less than the training session was worth, meant so much more to his client as she felt that he understood her personally.
While birthday cards or Boxing gloves might not work for your business, the key to building an unbreakable chain of referrals is to show your customers that you are always willing to go the extra mile for them.
If you show that you can understand exactly what your customer likes, wants or needs without them having to explain themselves to you over and over again then you are taking a huge step to gaining their trust and loyalty for the long term. The more customers you have who are happy, then the more likely they are to send their friends your way.
What can you offer to your customers that might make them feel really appreciated and special enough to tell their friends about you?Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community