Getting ReferralsGetting referrals are a critical part of any growing small business. But there is a big difference between asking for them and getting referrals from past customers. Both are important, both are involve different marketing strategies that need to be consistently practiced.

Getting Referrals

What they are: This is when a customer refers another prospect that wants to buy from you. It is the single most powerful form of marketing. Your company is there exactly when prospects are ready to buy. You instantly become a trusted source and jump to the front of the line to sell them your solution.

How to get them: Getting referrals only happens because of two actions. First, you offer an outstanding product or service and the customer is ecstatic about what they receive. As a result, they become and evangelist for your company and gladly refers other people. Secondly, you continue to stay in touch (market) to these former and current customers about the issues your company solves as an expert. This is critical because when someone approaches them with a problem your company deals with, they immediately refer you.

Asking for Referrals

What they are: This is when you ask a satisfied customer two questions:

“How likely are you to recommend [PRODUCT / BRAND / SERVICE] to your friends or colleagues?”

“Who can you refer us to?”

How to get them. Some companies are concerned about asking customer for referrals. They think that there is pressure to be too “sale-sy” or the customer may say no. But remember, sometimes getting referrals means asking for them. The key is to only ask satisfied customers and to ask for referrals on a regular basis.  This means that each time a customer buys a product or service, find out if they are very satisfied. If they are, then ask for a referral. Do this consistently every quarter along with other content marketing, even if they are not a current customer.

Do you always practice both?