By Jennifer Dunn
You need more clients, but whatÂs the easiest way to get them? Simple Â through clients youÂve already done business with! However, what isnÂt simple is obtaining customer referrals when you donÂt know how to go about it. Here are three things you can do to ensure youÂll get a great referral at the end of a job.
1. Knock Their Socks Off
ThereÂs absolutely no way you will get a referral from your client if you donÂt do the job they wanted correctly. Would you give a carpenter a referral if they only fixed 3/4 of your floor? Of course not Â it would severely hurt your reputation as a business owner and as someone to be trusted.
Make sure youÂre doing absolutely everything your client wanted you to do. You may think youÂve completed a job but later discover you forgot a few things. These Âfew thingsÂ can be disastrous Â not only to your chances of a referral but also to the client ever knocking on your door again.
2. Follow Up
Most jobs end when the client pays and you go your separate ways. The work is done and the client goes to see if what youÂve done will improve their business, life, or both. You go and try to find someone else to hire you so you can keep paying the bills.
However, thatÂs not really the end of it all, is it? The client doesnÂt really know if what youÂve done has worked until it’s been road-tested. If youÂve created a new front page for their website, they could experience severe backlash to it even though itÂs amazing. Their customers might rail against it for a myriad of reasons and you donÂt know until itÂs out there.
If you follow up with your client, it shows youÂre actively invested in their business and not just a passing face in the crowd. Ask them how things are going and if they need any further help. If you see some interesting news they could use, send it along. It shows you care about them and your relationship with them, which can lead to good things down the road.
3. Ask and Offer Incentives
Your client probably has no clue you would like a referral. You canÂt just assume they can read your mind no matter how heavily you hint. You just need to come out and ask.
Timing is key, though. If you havenÂt completed the above two steps donÂt even think about asking your client to refer you to his or her colleagues. On the other hand, waiting too long can be just as bad. The client may not even remember you if you wait half a year to contact them about it!
Sometimes incentives can do the trick. For example, offer your client a discount for the next job they need done if they refer a friend or two. If theyÂre a repeat client and they regularly bring in more work you can up the ante even more. Rewarding them for maintaining a good relationship with your company is never a bad thing!
Do you regularly ask for client referrals? How do you do it?
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