ARTISTIC-ZEAL MEDIA PRESENTS HOW TO GET REFERRALS 5 Part Mini-Course
PART 1BE REFERABLE
Every company would love to have referrals. One of the best and oldest waysto get a client is from a referral, so why is it so difficult to acquire them?First and foremost, you need to make sure you are referable. Whensomeone refers an individual to a company, they are putting their own nameon the line. Nobody wants to send business to someone that they don'tthink will provide quality services. If your company makes a mistake, it couldjeopardize the referring company's ability to maintain that Client in the futureand their ability to get referrals from them, as well.So, how do you make sure you/your company are referable?You should make sure that you are providing quality services. Make everyeffort to do your best on every project. If you have any hiccups in theprocess, be sure to get them taken care of quickly and make every effort torectify the situation for the sake of future clients.There is a 91% chance that if a customer is unhappy with you that hey won'tdo business with you again, says Lee Resources.In every industry, if you need some form or fashion of a sales person onyour team. This can include Realtors, Dispatchers, etc. Whomever is thefirst point of contact with your potential client is crucial to your company'slivelihood. The best \"salesperson\" is one that knows all of the jobs withintheir company. This means that if you are the first or primary person thatyour customer deals with, it is best practice to take some time to learn theprimary functions of the other job duties within your company. This not onlyhelps you to be educated, but it also could be the factor that saves you in apinch. If something is off and your client needs help through a hiccup in thebusiness process, you'll be able to help by giving them correct information
to help them understand the situation, and you might be able to resolve theissue on your own. (You wouldn't believe how many times we've heard storiesof how this skill has saved some individuals their high ticket clients.)Another extremely important factor in your ability to be referable is theCustomer Service that is provided by your company. From the first impressionto the the potentially difficult situations or mistakes all the way to referralprocess and regular follow-ups, Customer Service is an element that will makeor break a business.One of the biggest difficulties is maintaining the quality of Customer Servicewhen you know you or your company has made an error or is accused ofdoing so. This could be as simple as an unhappy client calling in to discusstheir frustration or it could be an unwarranted review posted online. Both ofthese should be viewed as an opportunity to show the quality CustomerService that your company provides.If someone calls in and has a complaint, the first step is to hear them out.Many people can be defused by simply being listened to. Just listen, don'tinterrupt... EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG! When they are done speaking,kindly let them know (even if you don't want to) that you appreciate themcontacting you with their concerns, you understand how they feel, and youwant to help them. You may ask them how they see the issue being resolved,or you may give them some pre-determined options of how you'd like to helpthem. You may even be able to simply explain the situation moreunderstandably to the client and that may resolve any confusion that theyhave. Just remember that if they don't understand something or they believethere is an error, it is YOUR job as the professional to find a way to kindlycommunicate to them in a way they'll understand. You are the teacher and it isnot the student's responsibility to know the lesson, but the teacher'sresponsibility to communicate in a way that helps the student understand thelesson. If you provide quality Customer Service, you can help to avoid havingthe issue go any further.In some situations, a second opinion will do the trick as well. If you provideyour Client with your best answer and it isn't satisfactory, you may try referringthem to someone deemed as a Supervisor or Manager for Client Retentionissues. Often we've seen a number of individuals report that just hearing
another member of the team confirm the options/solutions that were originallyoffered can help a frustrated Client to become a satisfied one.Zendesk Customer Service Study showed that 42% of people will be repeatClients if they have a positive experience with a business.If your client is left unhappy and you aren't able to come to a mutualagreement, they are very likely to give a review or referral, but they won't bethe good kind. Reports suggest that the average dissatisfied Client will tell onaverage 9-15 people and at times as many as 20 or more about theirexperience.On the other hand, an unexpected, unwarranted, or even a fairly givennegative review online can hugely impact your business. Reviews are oftengiven organically only when an issue exists. The impact of a negative review incomparison to that of a positive review is approximately 40:1. That means thatit takes about 40 positive reviews to make up for one bad review.To combat the issue with negative reviews, consider the following:1. Turn Lemons Into Lemonade - Customers will be more trusting of yourcompany when you don't attempt to remove or degrade someone's negativereview. Honesty is always the best policy and knowing that you are trustworthycan be just what your business needs in times of trouble.2. It is Better to Be Informed - This goes for you and other potential Clients.For example, if your Client's negative review is in relation to unmetexpectations, this can be an opportunity for your company to grow and makechanges to better a future Client's experience. It might also save you fromother potential negative reviews in situations that were just based on aparticular Client's personal view of a situation. For other prospects that are likeminded, they'll have their expectations set in advance and they'll have a betterunderstanding of how your service works.3. Perfection Doesn't Exist - There will always be someone out there,somewhere that will not be satisfied with your service, no matter what you do!How you respond to a review is more important than the review itself. If yourespond in a negative way or you try to explain yourself too much, it could
come across to viewers as if you don't care about your Clients.4. Opportunity is in Every Response - If someone posts a review, positive ornegative review, appreciate it! They are giving you a chance to interact withthem. For every review, you should take the opportunity to respond politelythanking them for letting you know how you/your business did. In the case of anegative review, you may or may not have ever known that your Client wasunhappy had they not posted their feelings online. This also means that theycare enough to say something and these are the type of people you ultimatelywant as Clients (in most situations). So, take the opportunity to flip thatindividual into a positive reviewer and possibly repeat business in the future.Connect with them and then try to contact them in order to resolve thesituation. If you are able to turn them into a happy camper, you canAFTERWARD ask them to update their review to reflect the situation if you feellike the situation presents itself.Lastly, don't forget the follow-up. Depending on the particular services yourcompany provides, you may decide to plan for follow-up calls or emailsdifferently, but on average either 6 months out or a year out for big purchases(like a home) would be ideal in order to keep your name right on the tip of yourClient's tongue.If you are able to plan for something like a Newsletter, this would be a greatway to keep your Clients in the loop monthly. This can include things like:* Big Stories/Events Within the Company* Big Stories/Events Within the Industry* Personal Photos & Stories from the Staff* Highlights of Clients and/or Their Review* Tips and Tricks Within Your Niche* Anything Else that Would Leave Your Viewers With A Positive Taste in TheirMouth in Relation to Your BusinessOnce you've mastered the main skills that help you to be a ReferableBusiness, you'll be ready to ask for the referral every time, even from otherbusinesses within your niche or even in the same industry. For example,companies that have overflow or don't meet their criteria for taking on a Client
may be happy to refer other to you. If you are in this situation, it is even a greatway to make a potential future Client happy by letting them know thatunfortunately you aren't in a place to take their business, but that you wantthem to be taken care of. We've worked with people who have to refer outClients to others all the time, and at times, those people will refer others tothem because they know they care.
PART 2TEAM UP TO BUILD UP
In life, most things aren't nearly as fun, impactful, or rewarding alone asthey are with others. We are wired for interaction and it helps in every faucetof life.Teams help to work together in order to build each-other up and cheereach-other on in difficult time, to teach and learn from both good and badexperiences of those around them, and to help their teammates to reachnew goals both by competitive challenges and mutual benefits.This is the same way that Companies are able to grow and prosper, bothinternally and externally. Internally, within a Company, people can beincentivised by playful competitions, having one-anther's back to close asale, and so much more. Externally this is accomplished by teaming up withlike minded individuals with a common goal. Usually these individuals canbe found in the same niche or within the same industry.Everyone has their specialty or service that they offer that sets them apartfrom others. They also have individuals that they have the opportunity totalk with that need something outside of the Company's forte that could behandled by another Company.Take for example the Moving related services. You have Realtors who showa home, Lending companies that offer the funds, various types ofConstruction companies that help to restore homes, Photographers whotake the photos of the homes to put on the market, Staging services that fixa home up for display to the prospects, Movers who help the Client get frompoint A to point B, even Apartments that your prospects may be movingfrom, and so many others. This is just within the moving process, not tomention others outside of the immediate scope of the moving process suchas Advertising Agencies, Web Designers and other services that help thesetypes of Companies to succeed.All of these service providers are potential opportunities to get referrals foryour business. Take a moment to write down the service providers that youwork with on a regular basis within your field of expertise. Now, write down allof the service providers that you or your company has worked with in order toget your business up and running and in the face of potential Clients. Finally,
write all of the companies or individuals you know that are in the sameindustry. The larger your list, the better. Every company is a possibility.Once you have your lists complete, depending on the size, you may wanthighlight or categorize your list in order to determine who are some of yourbest potential teammates and those that you'd like to be your second string.The purpose of this is in order to make sure you are aware of who you wantto reach out to first and that you won't feel overwhelmed.For now, keep that list somewhere that you won't loose it because it is goingto be key to unlocking the growth potential of your business in relation toreferrals.
PART 3PREPARATION UNLOCKS POTENTIAL
No boxer would go into the ring unprepared, and neither should you when itcomes to the referral ring.Your Mission: To have a ring of people/companies in your corner that aresending leads your way.Your Technique: To provide knock-out services that other Companies willbe happy to partner with.If you aren't able to accomplish this then your business is sure to be downfor the count!So, how do you master the right stance to get a referral?1. Make Sure Your Weight is Evenly Distributed - If you are expecting areferral, you sure better have something to provide in return.Depending on who you are looking to get a referral from and the type ofbusiness they are, there may be rules against referral gifts. Do yourresearch to see if this is allowed prior to reaching out to someone. It isbetter to be educated in the matter and know what to offer than ignorant.In the instance that a company can't receive anything in the form of a gift inexchange for a referral, be prepared to offer a referral exchange offer. Thismeans that you would reach out to the individual and ask if they'd be willingto refer people to your business in exchange for you referring people totheirs as needed.On the other hand, if you reach out to someone in a field where gifts are notregulated and ask them to send referrals, even if you offer to send referralstheir way as well, it is BEST PRACTICE to send some sort of incentive tothem as a thank you gift.Why you ask? You are already sending them referrals, so you think that isenough... Well, it may be a great mutual agreement. That being said, it is verylikely that people won't refer you to others if they don't have incentive to do so.Not to mention the fact that some companies have many business who areoffering the same type of trade, so what sets you apart?
On the other hand, who doesn't like their efforts recognized? In the case ofregulated industries, you should still send a email, or BETTER YET, a handwritten letter of appreciation for the referral. Likewise, aside from those thathave regulations against accepting gifts, for both referring businesses andClients alike, a referral gift says more thank words could say. Theseintentional acts of appreciation will set your business apart and they will putyour company on the tip of people's tongue.2. Keep Your Feet Diagonal - Remember that referral gifts have multiplepurposes. They exist both to show your appreciation for a kind gesture andto promote your business.So, how do you both offer a gift that will be appreciated while at the sametime make sure those that you provide them to remember your name formonths to follow?There are a couple of ways to accomplish this task. One of those options iswith customized stationary items in combination with monetary forms ofpayment.Examples of customized stationary items include:* Business Cards or Comparative Cards Mentioning Your Referral Bonus* Letters of Appreciation Mentioning Your Referral Bonus* Flyers Offering Your Business Information Along With Lines at the Bottomfor the Referee to Place Their Name and Contact Information (ie: ReferredBy ___________________ Contact Info ____________) That Can bePresented or Mentioned at the Time of Sale* Any Combination of the Above, or Your Own CreationExamples of monetary forms of payment include:* Gift Cards (ie: Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, generic gift cards, etc.)* Gift Certificates Towards Services Within Your Company* Discount Off Future Purchases* Any Combination of the Above, or Your Own Creation
Another way to align your appreciation and marketing goal is to usePromotional Products. Statistics show that 82% of people are morefavorable to your brand if they receive a promotional product from you andare ranked the #1 way to promote action.91% of consumers have at least one promotional item in their kitchen, 74 %have at least one in their workspace, and 55 % have at least one in theirbedroom.Some of the top promotional products that people tend to keep for thelongest periods of time include:* USB Drives* Outerwear (ie: t-shirts, polos, shorts, hats, etc.)* Drinkware (ie: coffee cups, sports bottles, etc.)* Writing Instruments* Perfomance Wear3. Keep Your Gloves Up & Your Eye On the Prize - Always be prepared andprompt to thank someone for a referral.Be sure that you don't make any promises you can't keep. If people expecta referral gift for sending someone to you, they better get it.Honestly, even if a company or individual refers someone, you shouldALWAYS send them a thank you in some form or fashion.
If you find someone that will send you referrals, shower them with praisebecause you just found a GOLD MINE! They will be your business' best friend.The more they feel appreciated, the more they will have you on their mindwhen opportunity arises.Now, take the time to write out what you think would be the best starting pointfor stepping in the referral ring.Either have an outside agency create the graphics/products/etc. for you, ordesign them yourself and then print or order what will be needed.We at Artistic-Zeal are always here if you need help with design or promotionalproduct purchases.
PART 4 MASTER YOURMARKETING PLAN
Having a process in place to achieve your goal is key to accomplishing it.If you are going to offer referrals, you want to be sure that you have all aspectscovered in order to see the most success.First, decide who to provide rewards to. In most situation, we'd suggestoffering some form of thank you incentive publicly in order to organically drawin prospects and referrals. If you are able to do this, posting it on your website,even as an ad on the corner of your page is a great way to start your referralbuilding.Optionally, you could devote a page on your site to referrals and explain therules and regulations that you go by in regards to referrals. For example:* We offer ___(offer being made)___ for referrals.* Referral program applies to new customers only.* The referred individual must mention your name prior to purchase.* Referral program applies to referees between 00/00/00 and 00/00/00 date.* Any additional rules/regulations you'd like.*** If you don't dedicate a page for this, your rules/regulations should alwaysbe added to any marketing material related to referrals. ***Next, you'll want to streamline your referral process. Here are some bestpractices:1. When prospects call in, ask EVERY time how they found you.2. When a prospect mentions a referral, keep a log of the referred party, thereferee, the referee's contact information (phone number or email address).One way to do this is by using excel or uploading them into a CRM intendedfor referrals.3. Connect your email automation software to notify the referee that theirreferral has decided to do business with you and that you would like to sendthem something, if you don't already have their contact info, or skip to step 4.4. Send out your thank you letter and/or gift.
5. Follow-up with your referees regularly. Let them know when you havepromotions (that wouldn't take away from your ability to offer referral rewards).Let them know quarterly, every 6 months or annually of your appreciation fortheir support. This could come in the form of an email (automated, optionally),written letter or card, or in the form of holiday cards, birthday greeting, etc.Make it your own, but make sure everyone recognizes your appreciation.
PART 5INCENTIVE IDEAS
Need some extra ideas for implementing the referral program that works foryou?We've compiled an added list of ideas to help you grow your referral ring!--Two-way Incentives - Incentives that benefit both the referee and thereferred.Examples::* “Send a friend 10% off, and earn $10 yourself”* “Give $50, Get $50”* “Give $100 off to a friend and get a free month on us”-- One-way Incentive - Your standard referral bonus to individuals sendingsomeone to your business.* Discounts* Cash* Credit* Promotional Products* Gift Cards
-- Rewards Programs - This is an incentivized plan where referees can gainand/or grow their referral rewards based on a particular method created byyour company. This can be intangibly accounted for in the form of points,credits, punches (on a physical or virtual card), etc.Get rewards for things like:* Referrals* Reviewing your company (You could credit individually for each differentreview type such as Facebook, Google, Website, other Social Media sites,etc.)* Checking in to your business on Facebook or with Google* Taking a photo with one of your signs with or without members of your team(Be sure to have something in your contract saying you have permission touse their photo and then post it on social media. Optionally, tag the Client inthe post)* Sharing your posts* Create your own ideas too for ways to get rewardsBe sure to come up with the incentives that you offer for this plan prior toopening it up to people. Otherwise, you'll end up with a half-plan and fullyflustered individuals that will go from referees to negative reviewers.
-- For A Cause Promotions - Team up with a non-profit who will benefit fromnew orders/ClientsThere are a huge number of organizations that could truly use your support.There are plenty of people in your community that are hurting and struggling.Here are some ideas of individuals and organizations to partner with:* Families in your community that have recently had a loss or difficulty* Homeless* Health* Battered Individuals* Religious Organizations* Animals* Environment* Fine Arts* International Non-Government Organizations* Education* Cultural* EtcHow do you find them?* Google Search* Call your local community centers/government agencies* Check your Facebook feed* Create a contest on your website and/or social media pages to haveeveryone vote on who or what you should contribute to for the month (thiscould even be a re-occurring game) and then select a lucky winner. You mighteven give the winner some sort of prize, promotional value or even a certificateof appreciation.
-- Drawings - Based on a particular set of rules/regulations your companycreates, individuals that perform the task(s) will be entered in a drawing(monthly, quarterly, every 6 months, annually, etc.) to win a prizePotential ways to be entered:* Referrals* Reviewing your company (You could credit individually for each differentreview type such as Facebook, Google, Website, other Social Media sites,etc.)* Checking in to your business on Facebook or with Google* Taking a photo with one of your signs with or without members of your team(Be sure to have something in your contract saying you have permission touse their photo and then post it on social media. Optionally, tag the Client inthe post)* Sharing your posts* Create your own ideas too for ways to get rewardsIdeas for prized:* Discounts* Cash* Credit* Promotional Products* Gift Cards
* Electronics* Tickets to Fine Art or Sporting Events* Create your own ideasYou might even offer one Grand Prize (which better be a head turner) and anumber of smaller prizes.-- Customer of the Month - Over the course of a month, enter all of your newand returning Clients' names into a had or into an online drawing selectionsystem to choose a winner.Here are some tools for choosing a winner that all offer a Free plan (as of thetime of posting this article):http://www.convertforfree.com/contest-winner-picker/https://www.random.org/https://www.rafflecopter.com/pricing
-- Referral \"Start-up\" Bonus - Start with a higher offer for the first referraloffered by an individual and following that, additional referral bonuses wouldbe smaller.An example of this would be if you were to offer a $50 bonus to an individualfor their first referral and from there on offer $5-$10 for each additional referral.We hope this helps you to get your creative juices flowing!If you need additional ideas or assistance on implementing any of thesestrategies, we offer your first 20-minute consultation Free.In addition, we would be happy to offer a 10% discount to New Artistic-ZealClients, as well as a Thank You Referral Bonus if you refer a New Client to us.For referrals, we'll give you 10% of the first purchase for any new Client if theymention you prior to purchase.
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ARTISTIC-ZEAL MEDIA PRESENTS HOW TO GET REFERRALS 5 Part Mini-Course