On episode #004 of the Small Business Celebration podcast, Mark Hale of Shockdoc Enterprises emphasized the importance taking care of the customer by asking himself a simple question with each customer: “If I were them, how would I spend my money?”
The genius of this question is it imbeds in your psyche from the very beginning one of the mainstays of a solid, profitable business by creating an army of advocates for your business. Those advocates are the principle source of long-term success by conjuring that magical word: referrals.
Creating the best referrals for your business is broken down into five areas: 1) establishing the right foundation with your customer, 2) creating the a positive referral experience, 3) generating the referrals themselves, 4) applying the right principles to those referrals, and 5) keep track of your referrals and how they are doing.
The first step is to create an environment with your customer that assumes that they will refer your business to others by delivering good work, and if at all possible, work that goes beyond the expectations of your customer. Part of delivering beyond your customer’s expectations is by fulfilling their needs consistently and developing a positive relationship with your customer.
The second step takes that positive relationship you have with your customer is by letting them know of your ongoing gratitude toward them that they trust you enough to send their contacts to you. Remember, your customer is the hero in your connection with them. As such encourage your customer to understand what it is that you’re doing specifically and how their recommendation of “the right people” will mutually benefit the both of you and that the time and energy they exert on your behalf is genuinely appreciated.
The next step is the system you’ll implement for referrals sent your way. This begins by identifying the customer who sent you the referral, sending them an immediate “thank you” (a hand written note is always better than an email), set up a system over the course of the next 12 months where you stay in contact with your customer – touching with them their value for the referral(s) and how their interaction with your business serves a larger purpose for them and for those whom they have referred.
Keep in mind these principles through out the whole referral process: They are the hero, what you say, what you mean, and what you do are authentic, and that keep your interaction with them meaningful and memorable – don’t become another piece of endless spam or another circular that ends up in the recycling bin.
Finally, keep track of your referrals and how they are doing – are they sending you referrals on a regular basis? Sometimes you have to apply the 80/20 rule (80% of your referrals come from 20% of your customers), but other times it comes down to a breakdown in your system in keeping your customer in the for-front of their minds or what you’re doing with them is not making you meaningful or memorable. If this is the case, there is a great book on becoming memorable by John Ruhlin called, “Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Incase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention.” (You can find a link to that book in the “Recommended Reading” section below.
Small Business Celebration
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Bakersfield, California, small business, learning, training, coaching.