Did you know that more than 80% of Americans seek out recommendations from friends or family before making a major purchase decision? In fact, a consumer is four times more likely to make a purchase based on the recommendation of someone they know rather than through traditional advertising. This means that having a system to encourage and collect quality referrals is more vital than ever in order to expand your business.
How do referrals help your business? First, they can help you save time. Instead of spending the time out pounding the pavement or making cold calls, you’ll have people calling you. Second, they are cost-effective. Instead of paying for mailers, a paid search, or a billboard, you can allocate those marketing dollars elsewhere. Third, referrals can help your business grow quicker than it normally would. According to the Wharton School of Business, a referral is 16% to 24% more loyal than other types of leads. Plus, a customer who was referred to you generates a 25% higher profit margin. If you’re looking for a way to improve your referral process, here are five ideas to help you get started.
People are more likely to share content that they find interesting, whether that’s a photo, a blog post, a case study, etc. Businesses that run a blog may see double the email traffic of those who don’t. By creating content that easily lends itself to sharing, you can improve your brand recognition and potentially increase referrals. Studies have shown that about 33% of consumers trust content shared by a business. When this same information is shared by a trusted peer, this number increases to 92%. This means creating great content on a consistent basis is key. For example, try documenting the process of a renovation through a photo series for social media. Using original photos instead of stock photography may potentially increase your conversion rate by up to 35%! Using this method can also help you nurture and engage with your customers long after you finish their project.
Providing an incentive in exchange for a solid referral is a great way to drum up business. When a customer refers you to a friend or family member, offer them a future discount or special deal once the deal is closed. Not only will this increase referrals you receive, but it could also help grow your repeat business. The more valued your customer feels, the more likely they are to refer you to other people or hire you again.
Building relationships with other people in your industry can also help you collect more referrals. For example, when working with a homeowner, they may mention they have multiple or additional specialty projects that need to be completed. You can then refer them to someone you’ve built a trusted relationship with in the past, and then they can do the same for you in the future.
You never know what that extra little thing may be that pushes one of your customers to refer you to a friend or family member. Sending a handwritten thank-you note to a homeowner after the project is completed, for example, is a small detail that can help you stand out from the competition and keep you top of mind in the future. Remember, it’s all about the experience that your customer has with you, from the moment they first find you to the project’s completion that matters.
Sometimes, the easiest answer is the most obvious one. Simply post on social media or ask your previous customers for referrals. It may be helpful to create an easy way for submission, such as a form on your website. This way, even if a customer doesn’t have someone in mind at the moment, they have an option to send you a referral later.