对于大多数小企业来说, the holidays are a time to connect with customers by sending gifts or greeting cards or hosting special events. With everyone feeling a lot of good will, now is a great time to start using referrals from satisfied customers to build your business. Here are 10 tips for doing so:
- 要求推荐. Many entrepreneurs fail to benefit from referrals because they’re simply too shy to ask. Most satisfied customers are happy to give you referrals–but they won’t think of it if you don’t ask them.
- 知道什么时候问. Aim to gather referrals at the completion of a project or upon delivery of a product. The goal is to approach the customer when they are happy with the purchase and the transaction is still fresh in their minds.
- 创建一个系统. Set up a procedure for capturing referrals. This can vary depending on your industry. A business-to-business company might ask for referrals during a post-sale phone call or email. A retailer could enclose a card with each purchase that customers can fill out to refer a friend.
- 提供一个奖励. Encourage customers to give referrals by offering incentives, such as a discount on their next purchase, a free month of service or a small gift. Making rewards contingent on whether the referral makes a purchase can encourage higher-quality referrals who are more likely to buy.
- 建立信任. Customers don’t want their friends bombarded with marketing messages. Make them comfortable providing referrals by explaining how you will use the contact information they provide. 你会寄直邮吗? Will you contact the person by phone?
- Follow up in a timely fashion. If you let referrals languish for months, their value can fade as the relationship between your customer and the prospect changes or your customer becomes less enthusiastic about your business. Set up a system to contact referrals within two weeks of obtaining them.
- Mention the connection, but don’t rely on it. When you contact a referral, be sure to let them know who referred them to you. However, don’t assume that this connection alone will spur the prospect to buy. You need to put forth as much effort as you would with any sale.
- 去了解他们. 不要“强行推销”.” Lay the groundwork for a relationship by offering the referral something useful as an introduction to your business. This could be a whitepaper related to their industry, 一个免费的咨询, or a discount on their first purchase.
- 提供很好的服务. When you win business from a referral, always provide outstanding service to the new customer. 否则, you will make the referring customer look bad for having recommended you, and you might lose not only the new customer’s business, 但旧的也一样.
- 重复循环. Be sure to ask your new customer for a referral when the time is right—and watch your business grow exponentially!
Rieva Lesonsky is founder and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Before launching her business, she was Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. 遵循Rieva在 推特.com/Rieva她的博客在 SmallBizDaily.com，并访问她的网站 SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for free TrendCast reports.