How many of your customers have this level of enthusiasm about your company?
We all desire different levels of fame, with one common denominator — a raving fan. From there you can spread the word about your business. The bonus, if that raving fan is actually a true client who is referring your qualified business. That is how you have a silent sales force that is your megaphone, spreading the news of how awesome you are at your craft.
It feels good. Does it help your bottom line? Yes. And here’s how to measure it.
Referrals are your Qualitative measurement of Customer Satisfaction
Surveys are a good way to get feedback from customers. With a level of trust, you could also take their feedback and inject it into resources, research or developing a new product. There’s a couple of issues with surveys:
- Surveys don’t eliminate human bias — the answers that might be a little too hot or too cold but don’t give you the answer you hoped for.
- Surveys don’t give you the opportunity for two-way communication — they are one-sided and are a trailing indicator of how you did. Sometimes too late to either improve on your process and sell them more or too late to save a deal.
- The survey response rate is hard to gauge and can come at a cost to solicit responses (like a gift card draw) that pushes you back to #1. There’s a human instinct that if we give a more favourable score, it will improve your chances of winning.
- Surveys are difficult to monetize and leverage positive feedback.
Let’s look at #4.
While I love getting feedback from clients about how we did, I also like giving feedback, typically through a vendor scorecard, that works to improve our working relationships with other organizations. I’m all sharing what will solicit action and have a benefit to us.
Monetizing surveys can be done with an ask for a referral after a positive response is given, however, it’s gaming the system a little.
The feedback on questions can be a good mix of qualitative and quantitative data. You can measure both, but you can’t count on a positive response to set you up for more business, a referral can.
Qualitative measurement of your services is paramount and rewarded as a referral. There’s a key distinction. Your feedback came as a compliment and recommendation.
Focus on delivering on your product and building strong relationships with your customers.
Open the Referral Door
Talking with your customers is the best way of getting two-way feedback and asking for referrals that are customized for their business. Something that could be relatable or suggests how to think about potential businesses. It’s not about you being pushy, it’s about you being open with your customers about what you’re looking for, so your company is top of mind when your services come up in conversation.
I’m guilty of this one, I’ve referred business to the vendor who was top of mind at the moment, not necessarily the ideal fit. Thinking about the ideal fit doesn’t come top of mind.
As a marketing quarterback, I give a lot of referrals to keep projects moving along… our team can’t do everything in the house. I appreciate the people who invest in building our relationship and those are the people that I trust more when referring to business.
Exceeding Expectations Starts with Setting Expectations
Before you can ask for a referral you’ve got to deliver on what you’re supposed to. Did you live up to your expectations or did you surpass them?
Under Promise and Over Deliver… it’s true. It always will be.
During the prospecting phase, before the sale, start framing the situation and setting the expectations of your working relationship and your rules of engagement. Here are a couple of tips:
- Think about your average interaction time. Do you usually chat with your clients each month? Week? Day? — let them know.
- What is your response rate? If Facebook can show it on all business pages, you should be able to give your typical response time. End of day? End of Business Day? Hourly?
- When will you meet to check-in? Does your business, like ours, require a set meeting to discuss quarterly strategy, weekly reporting or monthly tasks?
- What’s their ROI by using your product or service? How can you facilitate milestones and goals happening quicker or at least explaining the progress? There are lots of reasons for people to stay and unfortunately, lots of reasons to leave. Keep up on their goals with respect to your business and give them a big reason to stay.
- Is there a future opportunity to expand their spending with you? I remember this very clearly about a new feature being rolled out by a SAAS product. They thought this new feature would open up a new vertical and didn’t introduce it to their existing customers… only for them to start migrating to their closest competitor because of that same new feature. They could have saved their clients and doubled their monthly recurring revenue, instead they lost 10% of their client base. Sucks.
Be Kind. Rewind. Refresh.
Put yourself in the position to be referred to. The cycle will continue. You’ll be winning new business and doubling down on the process if you’re approachable and relatable. It’s one thing to have a product that speaks for itself, its another level to have someone who’s truly willing to work with you.
This post was written by a marketing guy who loves getting referrals and wants to work with more clients that want to grow their business. By writing daily, he believes his communication skills will improve and hopefully that will spur on some more referrals 🙂