General Business News for October 2014

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What Builds Referrals?
How to Maximize Referrals and Customer Satisfaction

Referrals are a great way to build business, but what’s the perfect recipe to generating a steady stream of referrals? While there’s no flawless formula for building referrals, delivering impeccable customer service, asking for recommendations from satisfied customers and reaching out to complementary businesses are all great ways to start. Here are more suggestions to improve your chances for increased referrals.

Enable Your Customers to Make Referrals

Help your customers generate referrals. Whether it’s a first time customer or a repeat customer, a satisfied customer is usually willing to refer friends, family and co-workers to your business. However, they might not always know how to do that. A first step might be passing out plenty of business cards to customers, making it easier for them send referrals your way.

Let satisfied customers know that you are looking for referrals to put a “bug in their ear,” causing them think about friends, family members or co-workers who might be looking for your specific service. By asking your customers for an introduction, you can advertise a new product or service. Don’t forget to thank your customers for their referrals.

Help Satisfied Customers Share Your Business’ Value

If you give customers something tangible, it can provide many benefits. Whether a newsletter, an article or a piece of advice that adds value, provide clients with informative and helpful material and encourage them to share it with others. The information may focus on an industry trend or forecast. This will afford your business a certain air of authority and, if the information is timely and/or useful, it will demonstrate how your company can add value to their life or business.

Monitor Customer Feedback

Whenever a customer offers a compliment regarding their recent experience with your company, this is the perfect time to ask him to introduce you to another potential customer who might benefit from your product or service. Monitoring customer feedback – especially positive feedback – is critical for drumming up new business. According to a study by the Wharton School of Business, while 83 percent of happy clients are likely to refer a business’ products or services, only 29 percent of those customers do so. Consistently monitoring customer feedback provides the perfect opportunity to thank customers and prompt them to share their satisfaction with others, increasing the likelihood of a referral.   

What’s In It for Me?

Give recent customers a financial incentive to refer your business. Whether it’s 10 percent off, an hour of free document review or something else to both the referring customer and the new customer, incentivizing a referral can pay multiple dividends. This strategy transfers resources from marketing to investing via referrals to new customers.

Give-and-Take Referrals

Take the first step to set up a referral exchange to increase the number of referrals. Connect with complementary business owners through networking opportunities such as Chambers of Commerce and social media to let colleagues know you’re looking for business. Take the first step to reach out; the initiative will demonstrate that you are willing to work together to help increase business for all parties involved.

Examples include law firms or home inspectors connecting with real estate agents, asking them if they’re looking for new firms to include on lists for home buyers and sellers looking for reputable professionals. 

While obtaining referrals happens naturally when customers are happy, taking these proactive steps can increase the chances of obtaining more business and diversifying marketing efforts, oftentimes without spending extra resources.


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