Recommendations and word-of-mouth are still the most powerful way to gain new clients. Unfortunately, that recommendation won’t happen unless you encourage them to tell your story. After you complete a project for a client, ask for a recommendation, referral or testimony. This shares your story with your audience on what it's like to work with you.
If the idea of asking for a recommendation, referral or testimony makes you uncomfortable, remember this: people won’t give their referrals or recommendations unless they love the work you do for them. Most people don’t even consider giving them because they don’t know what they are. Here are some great ways to break the ice and get the love from your happy clients...without coming off as sleazy or pushy.
- Whenever a customer compliments you, give them a quick and sincere thank you. Let them know how pleased you are that they’re happy and then ask if they know anyone else who could benefit from your services. This is a referral.
- Referrals can also come from other businesses. Set up a referral business with a complementary company. If you are in the web design business, for instance, you could set up a referral service with a hosting company you trust. That way you can both offer incentives and discounts to encourage additional business. If you’re not sure where to begin, think about the additional services your clients and customers need once they’re working with you.
- Another way to gain referrals is by setting up a commission. If you’ve ever signed up for an affiliate program, you’ve done this already. Amazon does it and so do many successful entrepreneurs. A person who has signed up for your commission program shares your product or service. They have a special signup code or affiliate link to provide their viewers, customers, etc. Once a person takes your offer through their connection, the referral member gains a reward. It can be a percentage of sales, product discounts, or free products after so many referrals.
- Make it easy for your clients and customers to leave recommendations and testimonies by creating an easy-to-navigate system. Setting up an online form through your website, for instance, really makes it simple, and gives them time to formulate their testimonies. You can provide a sample template to get them started.
- Share all of your goods and services with them, so they know what else your business can do.
- Treat your clients as partners and key players in the success of your business. They want to know they’re important to you. So let them know how much you appreciate them!
Here are some excellent moments to ask for referrals, testimonials, and recommendations:
- After you get through a difficult situation with them.
- Upon completion of your service.
- When they mention their appreciation of your company and the way you do business.
You are in the business of helping people, and the people you help want to share that experience. Making it easier for them to do so helps you both in the long run. Someone out there needs your help, and an awesome story about your company may be exactly what gets them to you.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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