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Stop Waiting for Referrals, There is a Process for That.
Something I’m focusing on more in my business lately is driving referrals from current and past clients to me. For the past year or so, I’ve been relying on organic referrals, essentially having friends, family, and customers refer me to other people because they enjoyed what I was able to accomplish for them, or knew someone that would benefit from working with me.
I’m focusing on ramping that up by putting a plan in place to encourage them to do this more often. The waiting game isn’t where I want to be. Especially considering that referrals are where 90% of my business comes from.
There are a few ways I’m working on doing this, ranging from calling out the idea directly to getting better at offering value to communities I’m a part of so I stay more top of mind.
I Think Organic Referrals Can be Improved Upon
Of course I’m not trying to “force” clients to refer business to me, I want it to still be a natural occurrence – when the customer is a good fit, then someone can refer me.
But, I think there is a better way to keep my company top of mind for the services we offer, something which I feel like I’m doing a really crappy job of lately. I’m barely posting to social media, barely blogging, and barely interacting with the communities I’m a part of.
I decided to change that – because not only is it what I tell my clients to do, but it’s going to keep me honest and more motivated to do better work. Here is how I’m going to improve my referral process.
1. Make It Known That I Have a Referral Offer!
Duh! This seems so brainless, but probably 5% of my clients know that I want and encourage referrals.
Not everyone likes getting referrals, some businesses like to seek the clients they want to work with. That’s great, but I really enjoy 95% of my clients, so why wouldn’t I want more people just like them?! 🙂
I’m working on coming up with a clever way of showcasing this referral offer, and then going to promote it where it makes sense.
- At the bottom of monthly client invoices
- In my business email signature
- On social media
- In client proposals
- Where ever else makes sense!
Why not keep this option front and center so clients remember the referral offer when they happen to find themselves in conversations with friends and business owners?
2. Actually Be a Part of the Communities I’m In
Up until recently, I commented on Facebook posts very sporadically, “liked” posts here and there, and was kind of “creeping” in most of them.
Recently, I started making it a goal of mine to comment on 3-5 posts in at least 3 of the more important groups every day. When I say “more important” I mean groups that have people who I’d love to connect with or work with eventually. Which arguably could be 20 of them, but I chose three to start with.
It’s been going well so far, and I think with a few months of this engagement, offering my help on the things I know well, people will start to associate me with those services – which is exactly what I’m going for with this strategy. 🙂
The key to this, I think, is to actually be helpful – if I can’t provide value I’m not going to comment just so I can check it off my list for the day. But I’m striving for 3 a day in each group.
As entrepreneurs, especially newer ones, we need to make sure we are showcasing and promoting ourselves whenever we can (where it makes sense, of course!). Taking advantage of this opportunity to offer your clients a discount or some incentive to refer others to you just makes sense in my mind.
The other business projects I’m working on are:
- Providing reporting that shows an ROI
- Developing a content marketing strategy
- Putting together a better onboarding process that automates 50% of the repeatable manual tasks I’m doing now when I sign on new clients.
Stay tuned for those in the coming weeks.