Why referrals are the simplest way to get new business

Refer people to you, not away from you!

“To get referrals, you need to do more than nothing”

Andy Bounds

Referrals make so much sense. Yet, I find that a lot of companies I work with don’t have a strategy around getting better and more referrals.

The first bit of news is that referrals usually don’t happen all by themselves. You need to do something to encourage your happy clients to pass on your name to other potential clients. Or, you can ask them to recommend you to their relevant contacts, and you can then contact them yourself.

And the second bit of news is that a referred client is much more valuable than an ordinary new client. They are coming to your company with a higher sense of trust and commitment because a contact they trust has recommended you. Not only are you saving customer acquisition costs, but you are bringing in a new customer to your business that is likely to have a similar profile to one of your most loyal customers.

Referrals are all about motivation

What is the likely trigger to getting positive word of mouth? Self-interest is the answer. The person referring us and our business on to colleagues and friends doesn’t really want to make you look good, they want to make themselves look good.  The referrer needs to be absolutely convinced that by referring you to their contacts that they will look good. Think of a time you recommended a good tax adviser, a website designer or a gardener to someone, you wanted to do someone a favour and in turn, deep down, you wanted to look good yourself.

You can only hope to win referrals, therefore, if you are providing an excellent service and in a way that is both exceeding the expectations of your clients but also doing so in a way that makes them connect with you on a personal level. Basically, they need to like you.

Oh, and one last tip: if you’re lucky enough to get a referral, make sure you find a way to reward or thank the referrer. They are likely to continue to refer you to others. Don’t ever take their relationship with you for granted. Because a very loyal customer, if disappointed, can turn in to a terrorist!