Go online and it won’t take you long before you can read customer or client reviews on everything from a Thai restaurant to a Tax Accountant. It takes an extremely positive experience for someone to take action and write a positive review, but when something negative happens? Many are quick to post a nasty comment written in the heat of the moment. Here are some simple steps to cultivating all the good that exists out there! SET THE STAGE Gaining word of mouth referrals starts from the very beginning. Relationship building is an investment for every business and it is certainly worth the time and effort. Yes, attend networking events but also remember that you and your employees are representing your business all the time. Be sure to have genuine interactions and learn about others, this isn’t all about you after all! Why not see how you can help them first, I guarantee you will benefit in the long run. Whether these connections become a customer or not, gaining their respect and trust can still bring in the business.
TELL PEOPLE Don’t be shy to tell people your business is a success because of referrals and word of mouth. If someone doesn’t have a need for your services or product, but they believe in your business, this gives them the perfect opportunity to support you. It’s quite satisfying to connect someone who needs something, with someone who has it. Think of it as matchmaking!
LET THEM TALK Give your customers the opportunity to praise your services. Invest in a solid social media following by offering valuable information and discounts online. Encourage customers to ask questions and answer them online so people know you care about each individual. Tell clients how much you appreciate testimonials, as I mentioned before, sometimes people need a gentle nudge when they have something good to say.
THANK YOU It certainly doesn’t hurt to have an incentive program set up. Offering cash or discounted services for successful referrals is a great way to motivate your happy clients. Put a system in place so each person receives the same gift a long with the most important thing, a sincere thank you.
ABOVE ALL ELSE If you don’t have a solid product or provide an exceptional service, you will not generate long lasting referral clients or customers. Believe in your business, invest in your employees through training and education so they believe in what they are selling and people will notice. Admit when you are wrong because it will happen, but overcome that obstacle with your customer and they will remember the good not the bad. Whether you like it or not, your customer base can be your biggest mode of marketing-- hopefully that’s a good thing! By investing in the people who have positive experiences with your business or organization, you are utilizing a valuable (and affordable) resource, resulting in more business and best of all, happy customers.