Referral Month. Part 5.
Why you need to show gratitude and surprise when you receive referrals (but no kickbacks!)
Creating an effective referral strategy is an ongoing process, especially if you want to build a machine that delivers a constant stream of ideal target market clients.
We've explored many of the steps involved in implementing an effective referral strategy. You can find the previous articles below:
1. Want more referrals? You get what you ask for!
2. Your Network is your Net Worth
3. Networking is an Ongoing Process
4. Dealing with Your Head Trash
Today I want to discuss the element of gratitude and surprise when asking for referrals - and why we don't recommend offering 'kickbacks'.
Showing gratitude and surprise is often overlooked when it comes to building a referral strategy. This is also a part of the process that leads to unnecessary ‘head trash’ which can hold you back.
You must remember that it’s in our nature as human beings to help those who genuinely ask, and we usually don't expect to receive anything in return. In fact, we are living in a world where Pay It Forward and Random Acts of Kindness are now deemed to be the norm.
Despite most people not expecting anything in return, it's important to ensure that you express sincere gratitude to those who have put in the effort to refer you to someone.
Whether you do this by email, phone or handwritten note, always make sure to thank your clients or partners immediately following a referral.
This step is critical because you want to be sure to show the person referring you that you appreciate their endorsement regardless of the outcome.
It also increases their motivation to refer you again.
If you do go on to do business with the new contact, you should also follow up with a more personalised thank you. This is often best achieved by surprising them when they don't expect to receive anything.
Some examples you might use include thank you cards, which are cheap and easy - although a personalised message goes a long way!
Movies tickets and other small gifts will cost a bit more, but they are also easy to arrange and are nice tokens of appreciation to receive.
You may also consider ideas such as raffles and competitions. People who send referrals your way can be given the chance to win larger prizes and rewards.
A meal with a client, or entertaining them at a hospitality event requires more effort and has a higher cost attached, but will leave a lasting impression and offers a great opportunity to strengthen relationships.
Ensure that you're generous with gratitude to those who spread the word and delivered you ideal clients. Think of what you would have to spend on advertising to get the same results.
Your low cost and easy ideas to show gratitude must be done often. There’s no excuse not to do them. The more expensive and difficult ideas should be used only when appropriate.
Why not kickbacks?
We believe that when you are building a community, the value generated by the quality of what it is that you deliver will be far more important to you and the client or connector referring your services than paying a referral fee.
If the customer had a great experience with your business, you do not need to buy their loyalty.
Additionally, if the person who is referred to you finds out that a kickback was received in return for the referral, they will begin to doubt how genuine the referral actually was in the first place.
They may begin to think they were referred for selfish reasons, rather than being recommended to a business because they are someone you truly trust to deliver quality products and service.
It takes an experienced business owner to comprehend that new clients can’t really ever be bought, exchanged or traded; they all have minds of their own!
But prospects can become friends, repeat customers and the best source of referrals for your business if you focus on providing them exceptional service first. Kickbacks can comprise your ability to make impartial business decisions.
Next week, we'll bring all the individual parts together. We'll share more ideas and advice about how to put your referral strategy into action, and what's required to become a master of this process.
After all, a repeat-and-referral-based business is the most effective business model you could possibly create.
Till next week!
Senior Strategist - Business Benchmark Group
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Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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