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6 ways to generate
maximum referrals
by Joe Gracia

1. MAKE YOUR CLIENTS 'RAVE' ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

If you want more referrals than you can handle, make sure that your clients have a delightful experience when doing business with you.

If your clients aren't 'raving' about your product or service and especially about your customer service, then you need to look for ways to improve your service so that they start raving.

The happier you make your clients, the more automatic referrals you will get.

Do everything you can to discover what will make your customers even happier with your service and then find ways to give it to them.

This sets the stage for maximum referrals.

2. UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER

Too many businesses overpromise and under deliver. That turns customers off and eliminates any chance of referrals.

If you promise your customer that their project will be ready at 2:00pm and then it isn't ready until 4:00pm, your customer will be upset -- that's not a referral mood. That's overpromising and under delivering.

However, if you promise the project at 6:00pm and it's ready at 4:00pm, they will be thrilled.

The project was ready at the same time in each case, but by under promising and over delivering, you created a positive feeling within your client.

Surprise your clients with something unexpected. Throw in an additional bonus at no charge. Go above and beyond the expected.

3. REMIND YOUR CLIENTS OF YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR SERVICES OFTEN

Out of sight, out of mind is very true in business.

You must remind your clients of your business and your services often if you expect them to pass your name on when the opportunity presents itself.

But you don't want to do it in a way that positions you as a pest. Do it in a way that positions you as a guest.

How? There are a number of ways.

-- Send your clients a free monthly newsletter filled with helpful tips related to your service. Include some info on one of your services and a special offer.

-- Ask your clients if any of their associates may like to be put on your free newsletter list.

-- Send your clients an article that they may find interesting and useful along with your business card and a short personal note.

-- Take your clients to lunch to share some free info that could help them. Of course, you can also discuss any problems they are experiencing that your services may help to solve.

-- If you find a useful resource that your clients may find interesting, you might want to call to let them know about it.

-- Send your clients holiday greeting cards.

Of course, you want to also weave into your follow-ups some information about your service, special offers, etc.

Listen closely to your clients for any clues to alert you to upcoming projects, or any problems that their friends or associates may have, that your service may help to solve.

This kind of follow up will keep your business uppermost in your clients' minds and it won't be perceived as pushy or annoying.

Apply the Give to Get philosophy.

4. GIVE SOMETHING WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN

We see so many business owners who are committed to the destructive attitude of 'No Pay! No Play!'

'This is a business, not a social center!'

What a shame. People are desperately seeking businesses that they can trust -- businesses that have their best interest at heart. When they find such businesses, they become steadfastly loyal and they refer others.

Be generous with your knowledge. Provide your clients with helpful resources, even advice without expecting anything in return.

Go out of your way to make your customers happy, and you will get so much more in return.

Here's a perfect example directly related to referrals.

One of our clients asked us what he could do to increase his referrals from his current client list.

We told him to put together a very informative report that his clients would find very useful. It included tips on marketing, managing employees, and organizing a business. It was an impressive resource.

We then had him create a one-page letter telling his clients how much he appreciated their business. To show his appreciation, he enclosed the report, free of charge.

In a P.S. at the bottom of the letter he asked his clients if they knew of anyone who might be interested in learning more about his service. He would be happy to provide them with no-obligation information, plus he would also provide them with a copy of the enclosed report.

First of all, he received calls from his clients over the next week, thanking him for the generous gesture. And, he received a half dozen immediate referrals, and more over the next few months.

He gave the report to everyone, without expecting them to earn it first by providing him with referrals.

That's Give to Get in action.

5. MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO REFER YOU

If it's difficult for people to refer you, then they won't. You have to make it as easy as possible for them.

We have a clickable link on every page of our Web sites that allows our visitors to refer their friends to our Web sites quickly and easily.

Put together an Info-Pak filled with valuable tips related to your product or service and offer to send it to any of your clients' interested associates.

You could provide them with your business cards with the offer of the free Info-Pak printed on the back with instructions on how to receive theirs. Now all your clients have to do is hand their friends your referral card.

Do whatever you can to make it as easy as possible for people to refer others to your business.

6. OFFER FREE WORKSHOPS - INVITE YOUR CLIENT AND A GUEST

Put on a free workshop offering tips and ideas related to your service, and send out invitations to your clients. Tell them they can invite one or two associates.

Make the workshop as enticing as possible.

Now you'll have the opportunity to solidify your relationship with your clients, meet their associates and present yourself as an expert in your field.

This type of Give to Get effort will easily open the door to potential new business.

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