[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When a customer, referral source, or friend refers friends, family, and acquaintances to your business, you are almost guaranteed a new quality customer. How you treat your referral source after their initial referral will determine if this is a one-time referral or the beginning of amazing referral relationships. While some referrals are one-offs, other referrers make multiple referrals per year for multiple years so show gratitude to all and cultivate each based on its type and potential.
Building a referral network is necessary for business sustainability and growth, but it cannot be one-sided. A successful referral network is a two-way relationship. Referrers want to feel valued, and they want to feel appreciated when they bring business to you.
So how do we show our referrers appreciation?
We could share ideas like offering discounts for new or continued services. There is a place for this type of appreciation, but we are going to take a different angle. We are going to share how you can show appreciation by tapping into what is important to your referrer. We also know that when you act first, you increase your probability of success. Generally speaking, when you give, you get in return, and that is the meaning of a 2-way relationship.
To achieve success, choose your referral targets carefully as they require time and attention. Learn about their families, their hobbies and interests, and their business and community activities. Here are some ways to engage with your current and future referral sources.
Refer business to your referrer. What can you do to help your potential referrer? To whom can you refer your referral source? How can you help your referrer reduce its business risks? Making referrals and risk reduction are great ways to help colleagues.
Support a charity or nonprofit of their choice. When you learn that your referrer volunteers at a food pantry that serves the homeless or helps underprivileged children through an educational nonprofit. make a contribution per quarter to that charity in honor of that individual. It will be a nice surprise and keep you front of mind. If you choose 5 charities to support because your referrers are active, you will be spending your marketing dollars effectively.
Sponsor an event. Your referrer may be hosting an online event such as wine tasting. Ask them if you can sponsor (or co-sponsor) the event to help them make it successful. Perhaps, you can add to the invitation list or help behind the scenes. Sponsor an event per year with each referrer, and you will gain recognition while helping them make the event possible.
Feature your referrer. Ask your referrers, if you can feature them in your blogs, on your social media, and on your website. If you produce a podcast, consider letting them be a free sponsor on an episode that will widen their brand awareness. Free brand awareness for your referral sources will strengthen their loyalty and relationship with you. When a successful referral produces a satisfied customer, write up the case study with credit to the referrer.
Send them a gift that they would enjoy. Your referrers have activities that they enjoy outside of work. Learning about what they enjoy comes from conversation. If you learn that they are wine connoisseurs, consider a nice bottle of wine from their favorite vineyard. If they like theater and opera, consider purchasing a pair of tickets for an exclusive performance (although online performances are not the same as in person, they will still enjoy exclusive online performances). If you want to gift your referrers when they make referrals, take time to get to know them, because, if you don’t, it could backfire. If you assume that they would like wine, but they do not drink alcohol, they could be offended and uncomfortable. Only give personalized gifts if you know them.
Appreciating your referrers is a big part of your business, and it involves knowing what is important to them. Remembering every detail is impossible with all of the other responsibilities that you have as a business owner. We recommend that you record what you learn about your referrers in your CRM, so you and your sales team know the appropriate ways to show appreciation for each referrer. You also can see which referrer referred which client and set actions to remind you to contact your referrer. If you would like to implement a CRM or learn how to use your CRM to build referral appreciation, contact us at 301-332-0613 or fill out the form. We would love to talk to you.
In our last two blogs, we focus on effective ways to build your “referrer” audience so they can bring quality referrals to you. Please read our two blogs, “How to Identify your Business Referrer Allies and “How to Use your CRM to Build your ‘Referrer’ Audience” We hope you enjoy them!