With 78 per cent of B2B marketers claiming that referrals are excellent at generating leads, it’s no surprise that you’ll want to prompt more of them. Of course, the number of leads resulting in a sale is imperative, but referrals often have a much higher conversion rate than other marketing channels such as direct advertising and social media.
Generally, you’ll get a referral in one of two ways. One of your clients will recommend you to one of their colleagues within the same industry, or your client will recommend you to a friend in a less professional setting. In both cases, don’t underestimate the amount of trust that was required for your existing client to recommend you. Trustworthiness is an essential part of making a referral, so your potential new client should already be confident that you’re excellent at what you do – before you’ve even liaised with them.
When you’ve just secured a deal, your client is excited about the services you’re offering – so much so that they’ve agreed to part with their hard-earned cash. Take full advantage of this and ask for a referral straight away. Be bold and ask if they know anyone else who would benefit from your services. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and you risk missing out on acquiring a potential new client with minimal effort on your part, immediately after sealing the last deal.
It’s easy for someone to ignore your request for a referral. If your client says they’ll think about it, don’t just let it slip by the wayside. Remember to follow this up with a quick phone call or email to check if they’ve sent anyone your way. If not, you could provide them with a couple of sentences about who you are and what your company can do for them. This makes it even easier for them to fire off a quick email to their contacts – and it’s also a great way of reminding your clients what you can do for them too. However, this has the potential to come across as needy and annoying, so make sure you read the room first.
A great way to maintain and strengthen your existing relationships is keeping in touch via LinkedIn. Connect with your acquaintances, colleagues and clients and actively make an effort to congratulate them on their achievements and share any posts that are relevant to your own network. Posting promotional assets also encourages others to share your content – massively extending its reach and subtly shouting about what your business is all about.
Ideally your clients would give you several referrals, but even if you manage to secure just one make sure you thank them for taking the time to reach out. Even better, encourage your new customer to thank the referrer for putting them in contact with you. Touching base with both parties reminds them that their connection with you is not only mutually beneficial but rewarding for their own network too, and this could help create a long line of leads for your business.