When you’re building a business, happy customers are more than good business, they’re also great marketing. People in this ever increasingly social world are happy to spread the word about your business when they have a great experience, but you have to ask for their help. So, when was the last time you asked someone for a referral, review or recommendation? Does your business have a process in place to do that? Have you considered offering incentives for customers who help you increase your business? Here’s a little about referrals, reviews and recommendations, suggestions on how to ask for them and links to other blog posts where you can learn more:
Referrals are incredibly powerful – whether your business is 6 months old or 60 years old. People are much quicker to trust a personal referral from a friend, family member, coworker or acquaintance and, chances are, they’ll feel better about working with when the connection came through a referral. It never hurts to ask a happy customer to consider providing referrals, particularly if they are an ongoing client or they have a vested interested in the success of your business. You might also want to think about other people who can provide referrals, like your friends, family members or connections on social media, including smaller, localized sites like NextDoor. Learn more about asking for referrals witht his blog post: https://growthcoachblog.com/2012/02/02/referrals-all-it-takes-is-a-question/.
If you have a business that revolves around you as an individual rather than a product, commercial service or retail store, recommendations, especially on LinkedIn, can be powerful marketing tools. First, make a timely connection on LinkedIn and thank that person for doing business with you. Then, once you’re connected, you can use LinkedIn’s system to request a recommendation. Although anyone you’re connected with can write a recommendation for you, more often than not, you need to ask. Keep in mind that the person may also ask you for a recommendation too, particularly if your work together was in professional services. Learn more about the power of referrals with this blog from 2014: https://growthcoachblog.com/2014/01/23/the-power-of-referrals-and-recommendations-and-how-to-ask-for-them/.
In a world where social media rules, people are used to leaving reviews on their preferred website, whether that’s Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List or something else. Of course people are often much more motivated to leave reviews when they’ve had a bad experience than a good one… it’s easy to encourage people to leave good reviews by asking them personally, sending a follow-up email when the work is completed, offering a future incentive for reviews, putting information about leaving reviews on your business cards, etc. However, just like with referrals or recommendations, you usually need to ask if you want someone to go out of their way to help you grow your business. Learn more about the power of reviews with this recent blog post: https://growthcoachblog.com/2017/05/01/the-power-of-reviews-in-the-digital-age/.
We’re curious to know… how are you working with your happy customers to build your business? What’s working? What needs improvement? What suggestions on this topic would you offer other business owners? Tell us in the comments!