Referrals are the kind of prospective customers or guests small business owners love. They’re already primed for a great experience, they already trust you because their friend or colleague trusts you, and they booked or are thinking of booking with you on the recommendations of someone they know. Personal referrals can come in all shapes and sizes, too, these days. They can be a lot of good reviews on TripAdvisor. They can be a “Like” on a Facebook business page (you do have a Facebook business page, don’t you?). They can be a mention in a forwarded email or tweet. I posted an article a few months ago on How to Encourage Referrals; here are a few more articles on the same subject from some respected blogs around the web.
John Jantsch, the publisher and founder of Duct Tape Marketing, is the leading expert on encouraging referrals and making your business referral-friendly. In this article, on American Express OPEN Forum, he discusses how to make generating referrals a primary focus of your business, and give practical advice and examples for doing just that.
Another OPEN forum article, Jantsch writes about why referrals happen — what drives other businesses and customers to refer their friends and customers to your business — and how businesses can utilize the whys to capitalize on the hows.
Inc Magazine’s how-to guide offers some of the basic advice on getting customer referrals, namely, when and how to ask your current and past customers and guests for referrals.
Seth Godin, new and permission marketing expert, also weighs in on customer referrals, but looks at it from the customer’s perspective: Why they would refer a business, and how much it costs them in time, and integrity.
Entrepreneur magazine has some tips for maintaining relationships with your best business referrers, after they’ve started making referrals for you. While some of these tips are directed at bigger businesses (with bigger budgets), it’s still good advice even for small businesses, even if some of the advice would have to be scaled back a little.
Have any advice to offer on getting new referrals, or have a favorite article that has helped you? Leave a comment and let us know how it helped.
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