23 Jan 2014

The Power of Referrals and Recommendations – and How to Ask for Them

In any business, a solid referral usually means additional customers and subsequent growth. It’s the snowball effect of a great service experience! Of course that’s only true if the customer who had the great experience does one or both of two things: refers someone who would benefit from your company and tells others about the great experience they had.

So where do you start? The answer: With a simple question. If someone has a great experience with your business, be willing to ask if they know someone who could benefit from your services. Or, with the continually growing popular of LinkedIn among business professionals, ask for an online recommendation!

Here’s how to get started…

Once your services have been provided to the customer or client, make a short follow-up call. Ask them if the service they received from you was what they expected and how satisfied the experience left them. If the answer is positive, it’s time to ask if they know someone else who might be interested in hiring your business. Explain the importance of referrals, but make sure the client doesn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable.

Another great way to grow your business through satisfied customers is to ask for an online recommendation. There are websites everywhere for reviews and comments, but if you want something a little more personal, ask your satisfied customer to recommend you on LinkedIn. Recommendations on LinkedIn are directly tied to a person’s profile and often seen by that person’s professional and personal connections. If the person you’ve done business with is satisfied and on LinkedIn, go ahead and ask to connect through the LinkedIn search. From there you can network with that client and send a request for a recommendation. Individuals, business and services can all be recommended on LinkedIn, so make sure your request is specific and personal. And remember – you have final approval about which recommendations go up. This is an especially great way to find new customers and build online credibility, especially with the business professional crowd.

Here are some additional ways you can ask for a referral or a recommendation:

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is entirely completed and then place your personal link on your business cards and website with a quick message such as: “If you were satisfied with our services, please recommend us on LinkedIn.”
  • Add a line to your invoices asking for referrals or recommendations.
  •  Include “PS: If you know someone who could benefit from our services, please let us know!” to your customer letters.
  • Update your signature line in your email to ask for referrals or recommendations.

Once you have a referral or recommendation, consider sending your client with a thank you card and maybe include a gift such as cash rewards, gift cards or free additional services. Your thank you doesn’t have to be of monetary value, but it’s important to show your appreciation!

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