My business works with hundreds of other companies each year. Since word-of-mouth marketing provides us with the vast majority of our BtoB customers, how can I supercharge our referral efforts? Susie of San Leandro, California
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The following answers come from members of The Young Entrepreneur Council, a nonprofit founded in New York in 2010 that focuses on international initiatives that include entrepreneurship education, advocacy, mentorship programs and events, scholarships, and health-care for young entrepreneurs. E-mail your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to email@example.com.
No.1:Take Care of Your Customers
From Tina Wells of Buzz Marketing Group
Do a great job. You should be so focused on servicing your current client, you're not even thinking about the next one. Clients can tell when you're thoughts are elsewhere, and they appreciate knowing that their business matters to you. If they're happy, they'll spread the word.
No. 2:Offer Something of Value
From Shama Kabani of MarketingZen.com
Your clients, especially truly happy clients, want to refer you to the others. But, most just don't have the time. So, make it easy and worth their time to do so. Do they have a newsletter list? Offer to write a guest post. Or offer to host a webinar for their clients and partners. Get the introduction by providing true value. Your expertise will speak for itself.
No. 3:Mutual warm introductions
From Stephanie Kaplan of HerCampus.com
Share lists of your contacts with each other and offer to make "warm introductions" for them via email to anyone they're interested in talking to, if they'll do the same for you. You could also set it up to attach a commission to any deals that come about via these intros.
No. 4: Profess Your Love
From Adelaide Lancaster of In Good Company
Tell your clients just how much you enjoyed working with them and why. It’s important to describe what kind of client they are, so they can recognize others in the same boat. For example, “clients like you, who are at a crossroads in their business but are eager to get to the next step.” Then, ask them to pass on your name to similar businesses that might benefit from the kind of work you did.
No. 5: Power of Multiplication!
From Devesh Dwivedi of BreakingThe9to5Jail.com
Let your client choose to pay for his purchase in a combination of cash and referral bonus. Let’s say a client’s purchase from you is $1,000. If the client pays a fraction of it, $500 in cash and the remaining $500 s/he promise to earn as a referral bonus, i.e. at 10% referral bonus, the client would refer a total of at least $5,000 worth of business to you in next six months. If not, then s/he pays cash (the unearned bonus). Simple.
No. 6: Never do 'just enough'
From Nick Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk
First, go above and beyond with the experience you deliver to your clients, and build upon the trust and relationships. You must be consistent, friendly, non-invasive and helpful. This means helping them to find information, resources and other pertinent necessities. Once you are viewed as a trusted 'partner' by your clients, then the best way to get them to refer you is by simply asking them to refer you.
The Young Entrepreneur Council is a nonprofit led by the world's top, young entrepreneurs. Our mission is to take action against youth unemployment through programs that encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. It was founded in New York in 2010 by serial entrepreneur and internationally syndicated small business columnist Scott Gerber, author of Never Get a "Real" Job.