What To Do When You Don’t Have Enough Referrals?

I often hear comments like “we would like to get more referrals but we just don’t know how.”

But in the end it is a rather simple task to get more referrals.

There are three things you need to get more referrals:

An engaged client base.

You need your clients to be thinking of you all the time or “front of mind” presence otherwise they are never going to talk about you to potential new customers (their peers, friends and family). It’s that simple.

When you are “front of mind” they will talk about you when the opportunity arises. Your task is to build the relationship to remain front of mind.  It’s our business to help you do that. Then once you are front of mind you need to stay there.

It helps to have an outstanding product and deliver an amazing customer experience. But that only carries you so far. You’ll no doubt tell some of your friends and family about it but that is no guarantee that it will sustain client engagement for very long after the ‘event.’ You need to keep them engaged in order to get referrals out of them.

By Far the simplest, highest returning way to get and maintain client engagement is a printed monthly newsletter.

It Needs To Be Okay For Them To Refer

Quite frankly, you need to create a culture in your customer base that makes it at a minimum ‘okay for them to refer.’ If you don’t it’s like herding sheep. You are forever waiting for the first person to take action. Sheep naturally follow the leader – when you heard them, there is a waiting game while you gradually apply pressure so that the ‘first sheep’ gets the idea to do what you want. Then the rest follow.

This is understandable with referrals – your customers’ reputation is on the line when they refer someone to you. They want to know that you’ll not damage their existing relationship. Cos quite frankly if you stuff up, its not egg on your face it is egg on the referrers face. The best way to make it okay to refer is to demonstrate that everyone else refers clients to you.

They Need A Reason To Refer.

Most people like a little gratitude for their hard work. They have gone out and brought ‘fresh meat’ to you. So a little bribe to make their life a little richer won’t go astray. I recommend that you work out an acceptable cost per lead in your business and take that money to use it to buy gifts for people who refer. (Better if you can buy something with a higher retail value – say your Cost per lead is $20. Take your $20 and buy something that has a wholesale value of $20 and a retail value of $40…)

If you create a competition with a major prize where every referral is given an entry then there is another great incentive to for your clients to refer.

Bottom line: Getting referrals can be easy. Do a monthly newsletter print newsletter to get them engaged. Wok to create a culture where referrals are normal and finally, give your clients a reason to refer.



Profitable Gift Card Strategies

The other week, my Mum told me that one of her work colleagues gave her a $10 Myer Gift Card . Usually Mum doesn’t shop at Myer because they are expensive, but mu accepted the gift and thought to herself that she could use it on a new shirt that she needed.

Mum works in the Perth CBD, and Myer is just a 5 minute walk from her work. Lunch time came around and off she trot to get her shirt… By the time she finished she ended up spending $585!

I thought that this perfectly illustrated just how powerful gift cards can be for the business! In all my years designing and printing for businesses, I have only heard good things from those using gift cards or gift certificates. So if you’re on the fence about them or just haven’t considered them, here’s a few major benefits.

  1. People Usually Spend More Than the Gift Card – Like my mother, many people end up spending more than just the gift card amount. $575 more is an extreme example, but often you’ll find on a $20 or $30 gift card, people might spend $50 or so. If people have a $100 gift card and they find $95 of products, it’s very rare that someone will leave $5 on the card, normally they’ll find something extra which might bring the transaction above $100 and they just pay the difference.
  2. Gift Cards are Essentially Pre-Paid Referrals – If someone purchases a gift card and gives it to a friend they are essentially referring that person to you and offering to pay. It’s a referral with a 100% conversion rate and like any referral, if you look after them, give great service and a quality product and start to build a relationship with that customer it can lead to a long-term profitable customer who purchases frequently and refers people.
  3. Money in the Bank NOW – Gift cards are prepaid and you get paid upfront. We all know how important cashflow is and if you can get some easy money in the door and not have to immediately supply the goods or service it assists with cashflow.
  4. Slippage… Huray! – There’s a little thing called “slippage” when talking about gift cards. Slippage is the proportion of people who never redeem their gift voucher or gift card. Various studies come up with different numbers, but on average it’s somewhere between 10 – 15% – Which is great because with those purchases there is no cost of deliverables which means much more money in your pocket!
  5. You Are Kept Top Of Mind. – Most people keep gift cards in a ‘safe place’, somewhere they see regularly to remind them, often in their purse or wallet. By having your logo or brand in front of your customer on a daily basis, you stay top of mind and it can only be good for your business.

I’m sure there are plenty of other benefits too, but that should be enough for you to at least ask the questions  “How can I use this in my business?”

I’m glad you asked… here are a few strategies to help you get started:

  1. Use them as added gifts or bonuses. When someone spends $x they receive a gift card values at $y, this then entices them to repeat purchase or refer a friend.
  2. Put together ‘packages’ – Find ways to bundle products or services to make them attractive as gifts. People may want to buy a gift for someone and prefer to give something ‘thoughtful’ rather than a $$$ amount. Pick a variety of price points to suit multiple budgets and include the gift, the card, the envelope etc, and present it with style.
  3. Outright Promote it. – Put “We Sell Gift Vouchers” in your newsletter, on your website and social media, in your email footer, on posters etc. By simply putting the word out there, a small portion of people will respond.
  4. Team Up With Other Businesses. –  Get another business to provide their clients with your gift cards, this allows new customers to experience your product or service. For example a printer could team up with a website company and offer a $50 print voucher to anyone doing a website, This is a win for everyone, the customer gets the voucher, the website company gets to add value and the printer gets a new customer!

Gift cards are a simple, low-cost, leveraged way to get new business and repeat business in the door each month. Start using them as soon as if you currently use them already, we’d love to hear what your experience has been like!

Adding Another Avenue For Referrals To Come To You

new-avenue-referralsRecently I read Dan Kennedy’s “NO BS Guide To Marketing To Boomers and Seniors.” Good read and plenty of good ideas.

One of the main and most interesting takeaways from this was the idea that Boomers and Seniors are more likely to refer clients to you than any other age category.

Now if a referral has a similar customer lifetime value to the referee then getting one referral from each client will double your business. However when a client refers, they often refer more than one new client to you so finding people willing to refer is more like striking gold.

But Wait There is a Catch…

Boomers and Seniors are a very demanding demographic to satisfy. So being just average is as likely to get you referrals as well not being in business I suppose.

The other challenge is creating an avenue for getting Boomers and Seniors to actually refer to you.

In a customer survey highlighted in the book it was reported that 33% Boomers and Seniors prefer to bring referrals to a ‘customer appreciation event.’ There are caveats like it needs to be a fun relaxed atmosphere where the referral can meet you the business owner/salesperson informally. (14% said they would bring a referee to a referral event).

That does tell you that having these sorts of gatherings is likely to pay off big time. If a third of your Boomer and Senior customers are willing to bring referrals to such an event then surely it warrants having customer appreciation events.

They certainly don’t have to be big elaborate affairs. Just invested in adequately, relative to the return.

If your clients that are most likely to refer want events to bring referees to I would certainly be working to make that happen. Maybe do it as a Christmas party to start and if that goes well and end of financial year event too.

If you give customers a chance to respond in a way that they want to they will reward you. Any business that has a large boomer/senior component to its customer list would be foolish not to at least give a couple of these events a try and see how the referrals come.