How To Boost New Client Referral Rates For Your Business

Use this simple system to boost new customer referral rates and watch your business take off!by Steve Houston

Do you know how many referrals per client you averaged over the last 12 months?

This is a really important number to know, but if you’re like most business owners or marketing executives, you have no earthly idea what it is.

Referrals are the lifeblood of many companies, so simply relying on whatever referrals happen to come your way is a haphazard and dangerous way to do business. You need an easy, manageable and repeatable process to help you get more referrals for your business.

One of the best sources for referrals is also one the most frequently overlooked, and it’s this –

If you want to continue attracting new customers, the fastest way to do it is to get each of your current or recent customers to give you a new referral.

Not only can this quickly boost your business but…

  • It can also help reduce your marketing expenses because referrals are free.
  • Referred prospects convert more easily because they’re coming to you from a source they already trust. They are motivated buyers and will frequently have a lower price resistance than others attracted to you through other methods.
  • A new referral client is more apt to refer new prospects to you than clients obtained through other types of marketing, so multiple referrals are not uncommon.

Want to boost your referral rate?  Remember these 2 things: Measure and Hold Yourself Accountable.

Measuring involves 2 statistics: the first is overall referrals expressed as a percentage of new monthly business, and the second statistic is the average number of referrals per client / customer / patient. You want to continue “averaging up” both of these.

You and your staff should review these 2 metrics regularly because they’re key performance benchmarks with a direct impact on your sales revenue.

Holding yourself and your staff accountable for actively and consistently generating referrals is the second key ingredient. Ask yourself:

  • Who have I spoken with today? Were any of those good opportunities to chat about referrals?
  • How many of today’s customers did I actually ask for referrals?
  • How else have I furthered my referral goals today?

Here’s why incorporating this thinking into your daily business activities is so important –

When you measure something, performance improves automatically, and performance inevitably tails off in the absence of quantifiable feedback. Just ask any pro athlete. However, when you do measure and hold people accountable, stability follows and, naturally, so do performance improvements.

In business, you must know your key metrics. You can’t effectively manage what you don’t measure, so here’s a simple method to help you achieve your “offline” referral goals.

Let’s assume you’re currently averaging 1 new referral for every ten times you actually speak to a client or patient about referrals. And you’ve set a goal to get ten referrals in the first half of the month. How many clients / customers / patients do you need to talk to?

You’ll need to talk to 100 people. Divide 100 by 15 (the # of days in the first half of the month) and you’ll get 7 discussions per day. Break this down even further and now your goal is to have 1 referral discussion per work hour each day.

Keep track, and when you find yourself regularly chatting with a client / customer / patient about referrals each of those hours, you’ll hit your target. Forget to do it one hour? No problem – just double up the next hour. It’s all about getting in the habit of doing it consistently.

It’s not complicated and it works. Set your staff’s and your own goals using a similar formula and process and watch your new client / customer / patient referral rates soar.

Bottom line: Simply holding yourself and your staff accountable for generating referrals – and measuring the results – can literally explode those new client referral rates your business depends on so heavily today.

“How Do I Get More Customers?”

by Steve Houston

“How do I get more customers?” is easily the most common question I’m asked by business owners these days.  The sluggish economy has dampened earnings results for many small to medium sized businesses and there’s no real relief from external sources in sight.  As a result, it becomes even more imperative for businesses to re-commit themselves to investing in their marketing programs, particularly as their competitors choose not to – which is a very dangerous mistake for them to make.

There are many ways to market one’s products and services to potential new clients, but you can break them down generally into two categories – offline and online.  Each approach has its own merits and drawbacks, so it may make the most sense for the majority of business owners to look at implementing a balanced approach.  Since there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when you want to attract new customers, it’s important that all options are looked at and evaluated from the perspective of what approaches best fit one’s overall sales cycle.

So-called “offline marketing” methods include direct mail advertising, radio and TV ad buys, Yellow Page book ads, and ads placed in printed newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and other hardcopy media. The reach of these traditional channels and their associated costs vary widely, as do their ultimate effectiveness.

Consumers are quite familiar with receiving advertising postcards in the mailbox, listening to companies hawk their wares on the radio, and watching 30-second commercials on their televisions.  These methods do work to varying degrees of effectiveness, so they’re all still viable options for many businesses who ask the age-old question “How do I get more customers?”

However, the world continues to change, as do buyers’ habits.  Since the internet’s emergence during the 1990s as the most impactful game-changer in the world of business, new “online marketing” channels and mechanisms have been developed to leverage the internet’s vast and pervasive reach.  It’s important for business owners who want to improve sales to recognize that their customers’ habits and preferences for engagement with them have changed, and that they need to exploit the marketing mediums that best resonate with their particular client base.

Online marketing tools and techniques include corporate websites, having a presence on social media sites, direct email and newsletter marketing, video marketing, mobile and SMS text marketing, search engine marketing, pay-per-click marketing, webinar and podcast marketing, and reputation marketing.  It’s easy to see that a whole new world – albeit one that can be confusing and difficult to keep pace with – has opened up for business owners who choose to embrace these highly effective and lower cost marketing alternatives.

So when I hear the question asked “How do I get more customers for my business?”, that becomes the starting point for a discussion with business owners to, first, help them closely identify their client base.  Armed with that understanding, it’s time to then start crafting an effective marketing program around them that includes all the appropriate channels, tools, and techniques that will best resonate with those potential clients.  When done correctly, good marketing not only pays for itself through the continuous acquisition of new customers, but also sets that business up on a solid foundation that paves the way for higher profitability and sustained growth.