By Reece Mennie, the CEO of Hunter Jones,
Word-of-mouth referrals are far more likely to convert into clients or customers when compared to other methods of lead generation.
Why? Because your business has normally come as highly regarded by someone they trust and respect. This means that if the referral source speaks positively of you, the potential client is essentially sold before even picking up the phone, resulting in a clear and easy win if you meet expectation with a positive first impression.
But how easy is it to secure a regular drip-feed of referrals? And what can aspiring entrepreneurs do to increase their chances of securing referrals from the outset?
Focus On Delivering Quality Products And Services
When looking to grow your business, it is important to remember why you started it up in the first place.
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Someone once told me ‘focus on your service delivery and the money will come’ and they couldn’t have been more right. Remain accountable at every stage of growth by maintaining the same high standards in delivering your products or services. Aside from enabling you to retain clients for the long-term, this approach will keep customers satisfied, resulting in natural referrals as a result.
Network With Like-Minded Professionals
Meeting and networking with other business leaders who share the same ideas and aspirations as you, is a key driver of business referrals.
There is no point in wasting time on pitching to business owners who aren’t aware of, or engaged in, what you are doing, nor those who don’t work with people likely to benefit from your products or services.
Networking isn’t necessarily about who is in the room, but who the people in the room are connected to. Be sure to operate in the right circles and spend time on developing positive relationships. In doing this, referrals will start to come.
Be Professional And Consistent
For many entrepreneurs, providing an engaging and impactful answer to the question ‘What do you do?’ can be a real minefield.
A short, sweet and direct response is crucial, as going for a long-winded, jargon-laden answer is bound to turn the attentions of some elsewhere. Opting for a response that gets straight to the point in an easy-to-understand way is far more likely to hook your audience and encourage them to ask you more about your business…. Just remember to do this in return.
Spend Time Building New Relationships
One area in which a lot of business leaders fail to capitalise is following up on potential sales leads, due to the extremely hectic schedule that often comes hand in hand with entrepreneurship.
When you have plenty on your plate, it can be all too easy to forget to follow up on a new avenue of exploration, but the objective of having networked in the first place is essentially flawed if you don’t.
It’s always a good idea to follow up any first point of contact with an email and, if fitting, invite them for a face to face meeting to discuss how you can take some of your ideas forward together.
Nowadays more so than ever before, it is also important to connect and communicate with prospective clients on social media.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn or Facebook can open up new avenues, or even following them on Twitter is a simple yet important step to take in the larger follow-up process.
The Big Take Away Points
Referrals through word-of-mouth can aid any business in driving growth and should never be underestimated or neglected.
By taking the steps outlined above into account, not only will you start to build a positive network of like-minded peers, but you are more likely to establish quality working-relationships with individuals able to support your business growth for the long-term. The key thing to remember is that it is a two-way street and just as often as you receive word of mouth referrals, you should also dedicate time to issuing them in return.