While following up with customers after every sale and quickly acting on the referral that indicate a less than favorable brand experience is a vital component of any referral program, there are a few additional things you can do to increase the likelihood that a customer becomes an active promoter of your brand. Some of the most effective things you can do are:
The better your products and services are, the more likely they are to stand out and stimulate spontaneous word-of-mouth referral. This will get customers talking and referring more of their friends and colleagues your way.
Referral partners are also often called channel partners. For example, if you run a design agency, a complimentary partner would be a social media agency or advertising agency. They deal with the same target customer group and they provide a complimentary service.
This provides the potential for both of you to recommend each other to your customers when the opportunity arises, which will help both businesses to boost sales.
Incentives can be used to leverage people who want to refer anyway. This can be done so that your customers can profit without it being at the expense of their friends. For example, you could tell a customer:
“Refer four of your friends to our gym and we’ll give you all a 20% discount on your next three months’ membership fees.” This works particularly well for new businesses in an industry that is trying to build a strong customer base.
If people have already signed up to pay and then you surprise them by adding in something for free that they were not expecting, it will stand out as memorable. For instance, in some fine dining restaurants, servers provide a small taster dish before your starter arrives.
It tends to be the same for everyone: very tasty and unexpected. I come away remembering this, and how it was unexpected and made me feel more valued as a customer.
One great way to get more referrals is to gift your customer’s friends and colleagues. You have to figure out the best way to do this for your business. For instance, if you sell business computers, you could offer to run a free computer software training workshop for your customer and their friends.
When a customer refers you, make sure to thank them for the referral and provide them with feedback on how well things are going for the colleague they referred. This allows them to positively validate their own decision to recommend you to a friend and will motivate them to make more introductions.
Referral is the most powerful way to be introduced to new prospects. Customers sourced via referral tend to be converted quicker, are less price-sensitive, and are also likely to become loyal customers. We recommend adopting a simple referral strategy that you can build into your business processes to manage referral and generate more leads.