Have you ever received a written “thank you” note? It could have been from an employer telling you how great you did on a special project, or from your favorite client about the team that worked on a new building, ad campaign, or even a thank you for the referral you gave to them.
Referrals and testimonials are often forgotten ways to generate a substantial amount of potential business. It’s time to rediscover the possibilities.
In fact, many companies never go back to a client and ask for that testimonial. The tendency is to just move forward and focus on new business. That’s fine, but what happens when a new client asks you for a reference? Do you just pull out a name and hope they give you a good reference? Do you know what your clients or customers will say about you? Are you sure?
Referral marketing is not new. Companies have been collecting testimonial letters for decades. In fact we’ve seen one company who has testimonial letters dating back to the 1940’s. Yep, typed on onion skin paper and signed in ink. More than likely, you have a few in a marketing folder stashed away. By the way, emails count too. What are you doing with them? If they are just collecting dust shame on you.
There are several strategies you can use to build your business, and picking up the phone and talking to your past (and current) clients every now and then is one of the best. That phone call is also a gateway to asking for a testimonial and letting them know that they can refer you to their colleagues and partners.
Written testimonials and verbal referrals are an excellent way to extend your brand identity. The big question is “Is your brand identity good enough to talk about?” Ask! It’s that simple. Just ask you clients or customers ‘how did you hear about us (me)?’ and they will tell you. After all, they got your name somewhere. This opens an entirely new opportunity to generate more business.
Maybe you have a client that needs a little help in crafting a referral/testimonial letter. It can be hard to write a referral that potential customers will find helpful. You can suggest a few lines of what they might say, or write down what they have told you about your company. Think about your brand and the words you consistently use in your messaging and share a little story that is specific to that client—you know the value you provided.
The Keys to Successful Referrals
Tell Your Story
Share the success on your website, blog, and LinkedIn page. Most companies will do a little more research before they engage new partners, and online is the first place they will look. Storytelling is the most powerful way to spread the news about your business, and when you give your clients simple, easy-to-share stories, they’re more likely to give you better business referrals.
The better your work, the more the more likely your clients will share and talk about your business. Has it been longer than a year since you last talked to each other? If so, you may need to do some networking to refresh your client’s memory.
Go Beyond the Referral
Develop a marketing strategy that capitalizes on your successes and link them to the referrals you’ve received.