Word of mouth is the most effective, least expensive form of marketing you have at your disposal. With a well developed referral marketing plan, other people are doing your marketing for you - what could be better than that?
The first step in creating a referral program that produces is to provide a high level of service. No one in their right mind is going to refer you if they were not happy with the work and service you provided. And why should they. Would you refer anyone who didn’t deliver on what they promised? So, with that said, you've got to ask yourself one question first: "Am I referable?"
No 1 Rule to get client referrals.
ASK! 60% will be happy to help you, but will not do it without asking. 20% will never give referrals and the other 20% - well they just naturally give referrals, without asking.
Sometimes your referral marketing effort just needs the right motivation or offer to get people to share referrals. Try a few of these ideas:
Offer special pricing. A special referral price on the next purchase as a thank your for an introduction to a new client
Give referrals to get referrals. Reciprocity is a powerful human motivator
Reward program. Dinner for two at the best restaurant in town for every referral that becomes a client.
There are numerous referral systems that you can put together for referral generation. But, we just don't have the space to discuss them all right now. Anyway, here's a simple and easy referral system you can implement right away.
Contact a local charity and offer to do some work free for them in your area of expertise. In return they will allow you to do a mailing to their list of donors offering your services. The charity will also enclose an endorsement letter for your services since they've experienced the "great work" that you can do first hand.
This one technique alone can give you access to thousands (depending on the size of the charity) of new potential clients literally overnight and at no cost to you (other than the time you have put into the project.)
The key is to start thinking "referral, referrals, referrals." To get more referrals, you've got to give more referrals and you've got to ask more often and you have to make it easy and make your clients look like hero’s for your clients to give you referrals.
Start small and simply ask each and every one of your clients for a referral to a person who is "just like them."
Adding a referral marketing plan allows businesses and individuals to create, manage and promote their own profitable referral programs
Budget about $150 -$500 to create and mail quarterly asking for referrals depending on the size of your client list.