Imagine the business boom you’d experience if your army of raving customers did the selling for you? It’s not luck, it’s mastering the three systems of referrals. ActionCOACH SA's Harry Welby-Cooke explains how he got it right.
Harry Welby-Cooke is a certified and leading business and executive coach. He’s also the co-master franchisor of ActionCOACH in South Africa.
Not only is ActionCOACH the number one coaching franchise on earth, but Welby-Cooke and Peter Scholtz took an unknown brand to a household name and simultaneously carved out a new market.
And they did it not just by being the best in the industry, but by leveraging their raving fans to bring in referrals. These are the three systems of referrals they use and that you can too.
“Different businesses will require different marketing strategies with more emphasis on some techniques than others.
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"If you’ve identified referrals as a strategy for your business, you need to look at specific referral strategies that will work for you and your customers. From there these need to be systematised to that they’re not things you remember to do from time to time, but become part of your core business activities.”
Strategy #1: Stay in touch with your existing customers
“Did you know that it takes five times as much spend to attract new customers as it does to keep existing clients coming back? Focusing on your existing clients makes far better business – they’ve already experience the product or service, and your customer service, and it should be easier and less time-consuming to convince them to buy from you again.
"Keeping in touch doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive either. I’d recommend you make contact with your customers at least every three months.
"As for inexpensive methods, send out newsletters, but give your newsletter subscribers a benefit no one else can get – like a special offer for subscribers only.”
Strategy #2: Make it worthwhile for customers to refer you
“Remember, if you’re wanting your customers to do work for you, there’s got to be incentive or benefit for them. It’s easy to remember with this acronym: WIIFM – What’s In It For Me.
Related: What your customers need from you
"Customers will want to know what they’ll gain for referring others to do business with you. It can be through reciprocity of sending referrals their way in exchange for referrals they send to you; by educating them that the more business they bring in to you, the more you’re able to pass savings on to them by reducing your marketing spend; or the favourite reward system of offering discounts on their next purchase, adding on perks to their existing or next purchase, or sending a gift.”
Strategy #3: Always show your thanks
“Customers want to feel special and are looking for customer service that makes them say ‘Wow that was extraordinary’. Consumers typically respond better to referrals from family and friends who’ve tried a product or service because there’s an element of trust involved.
"This can work for and against you depending on how well you were able to meet and exceed that customer’s needs. If you want customers to put the trust they’ve had to earn on the line, you need to make them feel special. The easiest way to do this is to say ‘thank you.
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"A handwritten note goes miles, and will get even more mileage if your budget allows you to add a small gift to it. The gift needn’t be business related either, just make sure it’s something you’d like to receive too.
"For example, if you’ve just sold a car, a thank you note with a voucher for a carwash is a golden opportunity to turn a customer into a loyal fan. Better yet, it’s a prime opportunity to partner with a car wash company and send each other referrals.
"Another tip is to wait a few days before saying thank you. Once the novelty of the new purchase has worn off, receiving a follow up note and a small gift will re-ignite the excitement and keep your business top of mind.”