Customer referrals are the most important source of new customers for your business. Referrals come from a lot of different places both online and offline but it doesn’t matter where they come from. If someone has worked with you before and they had a good experience, they’ll tell others about you.
Referrals from customers are awesome because they are ready and primed for becoming your customer. That is, if you work to make that final connection and have done the necessary preparations to convert them.
There are a few things you can do to improve your chance of turning customer referrals into customers. Never assume because you got the referral that they’re your customer. By making sure you’ve built the foundation, you’ll be one step closer to closing the deal.
Referrals don’t always do business with you immediately after they’re referred to you. Sometimes you have to make sure their research leads to the right information. That connection and the story the get is your brand.
Looking You Up
Customers who were referred to you often start with research about your business. That means looking your small business up to learn more about you and what you do. That also means they may look you up on review sites, too.
The first place a customer referral is liable to start is to look you up on Google or their favorite search engine. You want your business to be the first result when someone searches by your business name.
Facebook is good place to have an online presence, but it’s only a start. If you only have a Facebook page and that’s the first search result, it won’t stand out. Your small business needs a responsive website that gives you an online presence as awesome your work is.Review sites help make sure your small business will convert referrals into customers. Click To Tweet
If you’re a local business then there are many other places you need a presence. Local customer referrals need to be able to learn about you from other local customers than the one who referred them. Review sites allow previous customers to leave reviews which increases your chance of closing deal with new referrals.
You need to be there.
After referrals do the research and they’re ready to talk to you, talk to them about what matters most to them and how you’ll deliver.
Be The Expert
Eventually you’ll get the call. You can’t assume you got the customer until money is exchanged or contracts are signed, though. If you assume the customer is yours then it’s easy to become passive and start talking about price and details.
Don’t get right to the details and assume the new referral is ready to start, though. You have to make sure they’re comfortable with you and understand what you are going to do for them. Always ask yourself what you are doing for the customer and be sure you answer that concern.
When I get a customer referral, I don’t assume the referral understands what they need even if they think they do. There is a level of consulting that goes into on-boarding a potential customer. It’s necessary for me to orient them to how I benefit them.
Never do I take an order for a website and ask them what it is they want like a drive-thru. I consult with potential customers and talk to them about how I will help them grow their business online. I talk to them about how I won’t merely make them a website. It’s necessary for me to talk to them about how I create a more comprehensive online brand that includes a website but always with a business goal.Don't act like a drive-thru. Become an expert in your business, not a commodity. Click To Tweet
That’s the conversation you need to be ready to have with a customer referral. They want to feel comfortable that you’re the expert. Price comes later down the road when you’ve earned it. By the time you get to your price, you’ll have earned it because your customer referrals will feel comfortable with you as the expert.
When you have become the expert, you are no longer a commodity but someone who earns their price because you deliver value, not just a product.
Close The Deal
You’ve done everything the right way up to this point. You got a customer referral from one of your previous happy customers. The referral did their homework and researched you online. They found information on who you were and how other customers like what you did for them.
If the customer got this far, you should have an easy time positioning yourself as the expert. You’re on your way to closing the deal. The best part, you won’t be closing it as a commodity necessarily as the cheapest price, but as the expert who’s worth it.
Good for you!
If you aren’t there, that’s okay, it’s a work in progress. With a little help and your online brand report, you can see how close you are. You’ll learn where you should focus to get one step closer to closing the deal.