Thu 8 Mar 2007
In business, there is always the potential to network, reach out and benefit from new relationships. If a customer compliments you for the good service you deliver and you don't ask for a referral, you have missed out on a huge opportunity!
Referrals simplify the sales process and make it much easier build your business. I've included some tried-and-tested ways for you to cultivate referrals:
Start Prospecting — Whenever a customer gives a good review on your product or service, you should follow up with a thank you note and a request for referrals. Don't be shy — the customer is probably expecting you to at least ask! In fact, referrals are offered when customers are satisfied with a company and its services.
Fulfill And Exceed Customer Expectations — Before looking for ways to exceed customer expectations, you should know what your customers actually expect. Try to gauge how they perceive ‘good service'. It is best to talk to them and gather as much information and feedback as possible. Always ask for customer feedback on a regular basis. This could be done on the phone or through Internet surveys. In addition to asking for positive feedback, you should also encourage constructive criticism. Customer views matter in the long run — and you can't know where your business needs improvement if you don't ask.
Form Referral Alliances — Develop relationships with other businesses, as well as individuals, who can give you referrals. Of course, you should also be able to return the favor! This helps to build a network of mutually supportive contacts that provide you a continuous stream of referrals.
Referrals are the best source of new business that you can get — don't neglect them!