Do you feel awkward when it’s time to ask for a referral?
You definitely want new clients, and you provide SUCH great service, but you don’t want to appear desperate or run the risk of alienating your current customers.
But if you’ve left referrals out of your marketing process so far, it’s time to seriously rethink that strategy.
According to statistics collected by Influitive, the clients that B2B companies connect to via referrals are 70% more likely to convert, and they also close more quickly and provide more lifetime value than clients from other sources.
You might think that sounds ridiculous. Crazy, even.
We hear you, haters. – image source
It’s not. And we have six tips you can start using now to increase referrals.
1. Be Direct (But Time It Right)
Believe it or not, people want to be told exactly what to do. This is why, even though it’s awkward, you have to come right out and ask for referrals directly.
The first way to increase referrals is to incorporate a request in your standard client communications or sales process. Ask your clients if they know others that could use your product or service and if they’ll share contact information like names, email addresses, or phone numbers.
If you commit to the direct request, however, timing is everything. Try not to ask when you’re wrapping up the project or purchase — some clients might not feel like sharing as generously while they’re also looking at an invoice.
Instead, use opportunities when clients are most likely to be happy with your work, like at project checkpoints or after they’ve spent some time with your product.
2. Make it Easy
If you’re going to increase referrals, you need to make the referral process easy. Your customers shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out how to recommend you to others.
For example, add a “Refer a Friend” link in obvious places like the top of your website or the footer of your emails. That link could send them to a landing page where they can input the name of the person they’re referring, as well as their information.
3. Do Your Homework
One of the most effective ways to increase referrals is to find a qualified lead that your client knows before you even ask.
If you’re connected to your client on LinkedIn, you can look for potential referral candidates through their professional network. HubSpot explains the process like this:
- Sign in to LinkedIn.
- Click the search bar at the top of the page.
- When the dropdown menu appears, click People.
- Filter your search to look for second-degree connections.
- Add details like keywords, location, title, and industry to refine your search.
By doing some social media “homework” ahead of time, you can take the guesswork out of your referral request and improve your chances of success.
4. Increase Referrals By Providing Value
A sure way for people to talk about you is to get them to like you. And a proven way to get people to like you is to give them value.
Let’s say you just read an article that you found educational and entertaining. Why not share it on your social media channels? Your followers might appreciate the recommendation, even though it’s not directly connected to a sale.
This also applies to the marketing content you create. Let’s say you just published a case study that could be useful to your clients, or made an educational video. Send your clients a link, or post it on your social media channels, so your clients can share it (and you) with their network.
Sharing is good. – image source
It’s a simple and effective way to show them that you’ve kept them in mind – even after you’ve closed a sale.
It’s also a way to show that you have similar interests and care about things that benefit your audience. If you give them something they can share, you will make them look good and you will look awesome too.
5. Offer Something in Return
Give your clients something to look forward to so that they are motivated to refer you.
Lots of companies do this by creating rewards or loyalty programs that incentivize existing customers to act on their behalf. Discount programs, for example, are a great way to reward your customers who refer others to you.
Feel free to celebrate in your own way. – image source
For instance, you can give referring customers 25% off their next purchase, or provide a certain dollar amount off for providing you with names of potential clients.
You can also offer “points” or credit within your discount program for social media engagement, which leads us to…
6. Ask Clients to Follow You on Social Media
Who doesn’t want more followers, right?
If you are providing value and building loyalty with your brand, increasing your following can help you build your network of potential referrals. You can also build positive social proof this way, but we’ll just focus on the referral aspect for now.
Keep in mind that half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends. That’s a lot of potential clients per follower!
If only it were this straightforward. – image source
Ask your customers to follow you and repost the content you share. This will boost your organic reach, so you’ll be visible to more people that could be interested in your offer.
Increase Referrals For More Effective Marketing
Discovering new business through referrals is an important resource that not enough marketers and businesses use. Other strategies, like remarketing and targeted ads, can also help you engage and convert these valuable leads at a higher rate.
So, now that you know exactly what to do, what are you waiting for?
Chamber Media creates social video ads designed to drive full-funnel sales and brand growth. Learn more here.