Not sure statistically if this is correct but it seems to me that MOST Small Businesses get the majority of their NEW clients through a recommendation that comes from their EXISTING client base or contacts.
It also seems that the MAJORITY of Small Businesses spend little or NO effort or fork out any Marketing FUNDS let alone have a formal Referral PROCESS to encourage and capture this seemingly BEST source of new clients.
WHY NOT PEOPLES?
The more I see this in my discussions with STRUGGLING Entrepreneurs the more it SHOCKS me.
My SIMPLE advice is that if you are going to put ANY effort into Marketing at all, why not focus in on what already brings in the best results and MAXIMISE the opportunity.
Here are a few simple things you could put into place IMMEDIATELY and cheaply and see the RESULTS improve:
- FORMALISE the process around asking clients for a referral. The BEST time to do this is right after you complete a successful transaction with a client, especially if the client is obviously HAPPY with the result.
- INCENT your clients and contacts to send people your way. With ‘what’ is up to you but make it WORTHWHILE for them to go out of their way to help. Attach some conditions such as the client must come on board and stay for a month before you get ‘it’. (Caution, don’t make it too hard otherwise no-one will bother.) Cold hard CASH is the easiest and effective but it could be anything, iPad, Movie Tickets, Golf Clubs, Weekend away. Let your imagination run wild.
- Be CONSISTENT in using this new process, ensuring you don’t let an opportunity to ask go by.
- Use your DISCRETION about who and when you ask so as to not sound desperate or demanding.