Have you ever asked one of your clients for a referral?
Does the very thought of asking your existing clientele to refer your services make you feel uncomfortable?
Referral marketing can be a useful strategy to grow your business and it can be done in a way that provides value to your existing client base – without making them feel like you are desperately searching for new business.
Here are a few reasons why asking for referrals will be worth the minor discomfort:
- 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.
- Consumers are four times more likely to purchase or engage with a business when referred by a friend.
- Referred customers convert at a rate that’s 30% higher than leads generated from other marketing channels.
- Clients referred by existing clientele have a 37% higher retention rate.
Now that you’re on board, let’s discover how to ask for referrals effectively.
1. Ask Your Best Clients In Person
You can keep things simple by directly asking your best clients.
This can include your long-term clients, your high-net-worth clients, or clients that you get along with best.
You’ll want your referrals to match your ideal client profile, so asking your top clients instead of all of your clients is a great way to bring more qualified leads through your door.
When you have your client meetings, find natural ways to slip a referral request into the conversation, perhaps at the end of a session when your client is thanking you for your time and insights.
You could then let them know that you do have availability to take on more clients if they know of anyone who may be interested.
While this may feel uncomfortable, it is important to provide your client with the next steps to actually refer you to someone they know.
Although you’ve taken the first step in mentioning it, you will need to provide them with either your business card or another way for them to hand out your contact information to potential new clients.
This process will get easier and become more fluid with practice.
Even better, your client may mention a family member or a friend who could benefit from the services that you provide. That would be an opportune time to offer your services, and maybe even sweeten the deal with a discount or incentive if they book a consultation with you.
2. Incentivize Referrals With A Referral Program
With 83% of consumers saying they are willing to refer a business after a positive experience, why not encourage more with an incentive?
You may have some luck with clients becoming organic advocates of your business, those who are just so pleased with their experience that they naturally refer you when speaking of finances with their family and friends.
However, there will be many who don’t.
They could still see speaking about finances as a taboo subject with friends and family, or they might not even be aware that you are interested in taking on more clients.
That’s where a referral program will be beneficial.
First, it will drive awareness that you are available to take on new clients, and are actively searching to grow your business.
Clients that enjoy your services will be more than happy to support your success.
Second, your clients have sought out your services because they want to make the best financial choices they possibly can.
If you provide them with a discount when they refer you to others, they will see this as a money-saving opportunity and take advantage of the program.
The type of referral program you implement will depend on how your business operates and what you feel confident in tracking and marketing.
You could offer:
- A discount on the referrer’s services per month for a specific amount of time (ie. a month, 6 months, a year).
- A discount on one of your service packages for both the referrer and the referral.
- A contest, where there are prizes for first, second, and third place for the most referrals submitted by a client in a pre-determined time frame.
Give some thought to the ROI of a referral, and use that to determine the type of discount or incentive that would make the most sense to offer.
Also, consider what type of incentive your clients and ideal clients would benefit from, and enjoy, the most.
If you are offering something that may seem exciting to you, but not to your clientele, then it is less likely that your referral program will be successful.
It’s also up to you to decide if you want to reward the referrer only, the referral only, or both.
Once you have these details worked out you’re ready to incorporate your referral program, or referral ask, into the rest of your marketing strategies.
3. Include A Referral Request On Your Marketing Materials
While you’re busy asking your best clients for a referral in person, let your marketing materials do the work of asking for referrals – everywhere else.
Here are some ideas to get started:
- Include a CTA at the end of your client emails
- For example, ‘Know of someone who could benefit from these services? Have them book a free, 1-on-1 consultation and receive 10% off your next 3 months! Click here to get started.’
- Include a pop-up on your website
- For example, ‘I am now available to take on a select number of new clients! Refer your family, friend, or even an acquaintance by clicking here.’
- Share to social media
- Create a short video sharing that you are excited to launch your new referral program, explain the details to qualify, and don’t forget to share the link to register!
- Add to your print materials
- If you still share brochures, pamphlets, or any other print materials to market your services – include a line about your referral program as well as the link or instruction on how to participate.
- Add it to your own email signature
- Once added to your email signature, you will drive awareness about your referral program with every email that you send.
While requesting referrals in person or on your existing marketing materials are both excellent ways to boost the success of your referral marketing efforts, it still would be worthwhile to request referrals through an email or letter campaign as well.
When creating your referral request letter, keep these considerations in mind:
- Determine if your clients would appreciate a traditional mail-out, email outreach, or a combination of both.
- If using a physical mail-out letter, make sure you personally sign each one.
- You will want to personalize the content to your client segments, while clearly outlining the rules and regulations of your referral program or referral request.
- Check-in with your compliance officer (if necessary) to ensure that your referral program, incentives, or request for referrals meet all compliance regulations.
- Follow up with a phone call a week or so after you send out your communication.
Referral marketing is a strategic way to tap into potentially warmer leads, which will take less time, money, and resources to convert into new clients.
Grow your business by asking your best clients when meeting with them for a referral, incentivizing referrals through a program, or incorporating referral requests into your marketing efforts and email (or print) campaigns.
Referral marketing works best when you’ve built strong relationships and deep connections with your existing clients. This is why you must never overlook your existing clients and their needs, even when searching for new clientele to grow your business.