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One of the most effective ways of attracting new customers is by recommendation from happy existing ones. A lead that comes by such a referral will be much easier to convert into a sale than a ‘cold’ lead.

But, even when all your customers are really happy with what you do, don’t assume that such referrals will happen by chance. Make sure you have systems in place to ensure you maximise the number of referrals. That way you can ensure that neither you, nor your staff, get lazy and miss opportunities.

These systems can be very simple – but will be effective. They might include:

  • A script – flexible so it doesn’t sound ‘wooden’ – with a system that directs you – and your staff – to use it.
  • Always telling clients that you are looking for new business. You know, but do they? They might think that you are already too busy, or winding down.
  • Making sure clients and colleagues know the sort of referrals you’re looking for. Otherwise they might not think they know people who would be appropriate.
  • Using a simple feedback form to make sure clients are happy with what you are doing. Happy clients are more likely to make good referrals. Be direct with the questions on that form and ask leading questions like: “If you are happy with what we’ve done, who else do you know…..?”
  • Including ‘Referrals’ as an Agenda item at appropriate meetings.Maybe use that opportunity to ask them what sort of referrals they are seeking. This can be a powerful way to open up a path to mutual self-help.
  • Where appropriate, consider putting a reward system in place. The monetary value needn’t be great – but a good referrer will enjoy being recognised.
  • ALWAYS making sure you thank someone who’s given a lead.

Select just one of these ideas and set up a formal system to encourage referrals in that way. Review the results and then add a second system to reinforce the improvement.

Action:
Select just one of these ideas and set up a formal system to encourage referrals in that way. Review the results and then add a second system to reinforce the improvement.

Author: Businesswise Accountant

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