Let’s assume that you are a successful business that excels in making your customers grin from ear to ear. You have tons of satisfied customers just waiting to tell their friends and family how happy they are to do business with you. Better yet, they know just the person who would be a perfect fit for your service or product. Is that enough? I am here to tell you that it isn’t. There is so much more you can do to maximize your referrals by coaching your promoters to make sure they are better informed on who to refer and ways to make it very easy to connect you with the prospects.
Consider for a second the following questions: 1) Are there more friends that your promoters could connect you with that they overlooked? 2) Are your promoters sending the right message when they refer? 3) Did you make it easy to find information about your products or services to more effectively convert referrals into sales?
The following tips will help you coach your personal ambassadors (promoters) as well as clearly define your message.
Develop a solid, clear message. When you communicate with your customers make sure you are clear on what exactly it is that you offer. Most customers only purchase one or a few of the wide array of products or services a business offers. Therefore your promoters may have tunnel vision when recommending others based on their personal experience. Take the time to inform your customers of more of what you offer. This goes well beyond follow up sales. You never want to offer a happy customer something they don’t need – but you can make them aware of your extended catalog. Chances are your promoters are satisfied with your service, or they just like doing business with you because you are a great guy or gal. They almost always recommend others based off this emotional connection. The more they know about what you offer, the more friends they can recommend.
Having a clear message goes beyond telling your customers all of the products you offer. Be precise in telling your customers the benefits that you offer. For example, if you deal with insurance always sell “security” or “peace of mind” instead of a policy. This will resonate with your customers and widen the amount of friends they touch.
Remember, you are not perfect for everyone. When you coach your customers on how to recommend you, make sure they are clear that you are in business to serve only those who would benefit the most. In other words, don’t ask your customers to refer anyone and everyone – this will appear like you are just trying to get more sales. You should have an honest approach and not be overly aggressive. Let’s be honest, you are not a perfect fit for everyone. You will be respected more and come across as being in business to genuinely help others. Therefore they will be much more likely to actually refer. In addition, you don’t want a customer that isn’t right for your business. The wrong clients are expensive. If you’re not a fit then this could lead to costly service and negative word of mouth.
Utilize social media. In today’s market there is no better way to connect with so many people so quickly. Think Twitter, think Facebook, think Tumblr. These tools allow you to easily reach prospects and provides a direct link between you, a prospect, and a promoter. You will instantly be able to answer questions and connect others to sources of information about your product or service. Let’s use Twitter as an example. A promoter could tweet to their followers the following “Just love @abcinsurance they always know the right thing to do” OR “@toreym you should check out @abcinsurance I’ve been with them for years. Ask for Jake.” You are now instantly connected to a prospect and able to track it from recommendation to sale. There is a lot more to using social media to help increase referrals, so we’ll follow up with a more detailed post later.
Maintain a solid website. Make it full of rich content, content, and more content! Your website should be easy to find, simple to navigate, and full of magnificent information about your product and company. A great web site which is easy to find and has lots of great content is more likely to to be shared by your promoters. Let’s face it, the absolute first thing almost everyone does when they are referred to a company is do research online, and arming your promoters with a great website to send their friends and family to is very important. Consider something that is visually appealing and portrays your brand; but also easy to navigate and find information! In today’s world people judge companies on this area. To take things even a step further, make sure that your website and social media sites are integrated. Referrals often happen on sites like Twitter and Facebook, so make sure that your social profiles link back to your site or that they convey the same message for your company and have good contact information.
Send a newsletter to your customers. There is perhaps no better way to keep your customers updated, and your promoters engaged. Specifically, a newsletter is an additional piece of material a promoter can share with others. The goal here is to keep your client base informed on your company and related issues in the industry. This should not be a direct sales tool. In other words, don’t fill it will special offers or coupons. People are flooded with this type of communication every day and most ignore it. You have something much more valuable to offer your customers: information. For example, rather than announcing a sale at your car dealership inform your customers of recent recalls of car models you commonly sell. Or how about techniques on ways to reduce insurance premiums. Fill the newsletter with clear, honest and rich content. Your customers will respect you more for it, and they will actually read them. Educating your referral sources will gain trust and dramatically increase referrals.