Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a referrals seminar given by a successful
Houston contractor. It was a very worthwhile event and included great tips for asking for referrals and inducing customers to act as referral sources. Those techniques have worked for this gentleman, and his company does several million dollars in business every year.
The seminar’s techniques for building business referrals did not make use of the Web as a referral source. These techniques were ideas that worked 15 years ago, and they still work, but they ignore the power of the Internet as a referral tool. I was left wondering how much more successful this contractor could be if he set up processes for collecting referrals and recommendations on the Web. My guess is that he could dramatically improve his business.
What was missing was a process for identifying the most happy customers and a process for getting their recommendations and referrals on to the Web. You can do a quick customer survey after a transaction to assess customer loyalty, or you can ask your customers to leave an online recommendation like the ones collected by Glenn Smith for his Growth Coach business. Either way, you’re asking customers for feedback and identifying the fans, the neutral customers, and any unhappy ones too.
Once you identify your customer fans, you should thank them for their support of your business and then ask them for help in making referrals online. If they follow through and leave an online recommendation for you, acknowledge their effort on your behalf and work to strengthen your relationship with these fans of your business.
When recommendations appear online for your business, link your website to them and create website testimonials from them. If the recommendations appear on websites, like RustReviews.com, that allow the business to respond to the reviewer, you should do that. If you can’t respond online, you should respond via note or phone call to the reviewer, again thanking them for taking the time to make the referral.
Online referrals will help your business stand out from the crowd and the customers who take the time to post them are treasured assets of your business. Set up a process to identify these people and a process to help them refer new business to you online. If you need assistance doing that, contact Rust Reviews!