Five Ways to Increase Referrals

In the vast majority of industries, referrals are the most cost-effective way to gain new clients and grow business.  Attracting new clients through referrals reduces marketing costs and makes the selling process more effective.    And the referral usually makes for an excellent client.  It’s good business sense to increase referrals, so how can we increase them?   Here are five ideas:

1. Ask in an Email Signature

It can be uncomfortable to directly ask clients and friends for referrals.  A great compromise is to add a line to your email signature that asks for one.  Here are a couple of wording options:

Your referral is our greatest compliment!
Referrals are the lifeblood of our business.
We appreciate your referrals.

Adding one of these lines to an email signature file is a subtle notice to everyone  that referrals are important to your business.  It’s indirect and it takes minutes to implement. 

2.  Acknowledge Referral Sources

When you find out someone has sent a referral, be sure to thank that person with a note or a gift.  (Some industries do not allow gifts.  Be sure to check any licenses you hold for restrictions. )

Consider rewarding your top referral sources with more than a thank you note.  A small gift can convey gratitude without breaking the bank.  If you are not sure who your top referral sources are, we can help create a report in your accounting system to track that information on a regular basis. 

3.  Create a Formal Referral Program

Creating a formal program generates several benefits:

  • It formalizes the process of asking for referrals.  This lets clients know referrals are vital to your business. 
  • It gets the word out without anyone feeling pressured. 
  • It is lower cost than other marketing channels. 
  • It produces results in less time.

To set up your referral program, decide how to reward your referral sources.  It could be awarding prizes such as Kindles and tablets to clients who send the most referrals.  The cost of the prize is a small price to pay for the benefit of several new high-quality clients.  Send a letter or email announcing the program, and then set up a process for tracking.  Be sure to include a description of the specific type of client you want; meaningful referrals are more likely when clients know who to look for.    

4.  Develop Referral Sources

One way to truly grow business is to find new sources of referrals.  Your clients are a great source, but they each know only so many people.  If your clients have been with you for a while, your referrals could stagnate. 

Keep your referrals growing by tapping into power partners or centers of influence.  These are small business owners that have the same type of client you do, but are not in competition with you.  For Lucrum, we have identified CPA’s, attorneys, and business coaches as great referral sources. The best way to reach out to them is to send them a referral!

5.  Create Processes to Track Referrals

There are things your office can do when it comes to referrals:

  • Ask how a new lead heard about you when they first call.  Then record and track the information, so that you will know your top referral sources.
  • Set up a system where thank you notes and gifts go out timely and automatically.
  • Schedule times with power partners to keep them up to date on your business changes and opportunities.
  • Communicate referral results to keep everyone informed. 

Once you set up these processes and delegate the tasks, you can increase your referrals and subsequently your revenues.  Having trouble delegating tasks to available employees?  We can assist you with setting up processes for gaining and tracking referrals.  Oh, and by the way, we appreciate your referrals!