Increase Referrals for Your Small Business With 5 Easy Tips
By Eric McLean
Not only can referrals have an impact on your business’ bottom line, they can also impact how your company recruits talent. If someone is impressed with what they are seeing online about your business, they might also be more inclined to work there when there’s an opening.
To help mark the start of Small Business Week, here are a few tips on how you can increase referrals to your small business.
Time your requests for referrals appropriately
Many referrals will happen organically—either because your client spreads the word or their partners are asking about the work you’ve done—but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to simply request one.
So, when’s the best time to ask for a referral? You may find that the ideal time is right when a customer, prospect or associate is at the peak of their enthusiasm. If you exceed customer expectations and your client compliments you on a job well done, they're undoubtedly in a positive frame of mind. As this happens, don't waste time - jump on this opportunity. Ask your client if they can think of anyone else that might benefit from your products or services. One way to generate enthusiasm is with a customer satisfaction survey.
Do your best work
Concentrate on the clients that you currently have, and be results-oriented. Focus on doing good work and you will get noticed. It might be tempting once a project is underway to shift your focus to new business development, but the work you have on the go currently should always be your top priority. This is a great way to show a client you’re invested in them and their business, and may inspire long-term loyalty.
Implement a referral generation plan
You might want to think about creating a system for soliciting referrals. It’s important to make sure that you and your employees consistently ask for them in a systematic way. You could write down a minimum weekly target for the number of referrals that you gather, and also keep a record of every one you receive and the sales they generate. Tracking the sales generated from referrals will also motivate you. For example, if you discover that you can make a sale for every two referrals you receive it becomes pretty easy to remember to ask for one at the end of every business meeting.
Sometimes referrals happen in an instant, but for the most part, relationship-building is a long-game. Maintain a meaningful relationship by staying in touch, being courteous and sharing any updates you think the prospective client would be interested in.
Sending an e-mail once in a while just to show that you are thinking of their needs could go a long way.
Make it really easy for someone to give a referral
You might want to consider adding links to your website pages for all the review sites that you’re currently active on.
You could also put links to review sites in all of your communications for that matter: add them to every e-mail, select posts on your company Facebook page, and perhaps in direct mail (with instructions, in that case). You want to help your clients figure out how to describe their experience.
Eyes on recruitment
If you follow the steps above, you should be putting your small business in an excellent position to succeed moving forward. A job seeker will be more likely to join your team if a bevy of new clients are coming in the door each week and prospective clients are continually being added to the pipeline. Company referrals are definitely more important than ever in shaping a small business’s brand, and the rise of social media has a lot to do with it.
Social media has intertwined company reputation with the customer experience, and if your company is consistently getting good reviews, then it’s far more likely that a job seeker would consider choosing your company for a new gig.
For more tips on finding the best talent, enhancing your company’s employee recruitment strategy, or keeping up on the latest HR trends, visit hiring.monster.ca.