Referrals and gifts are huge in business, but they’re often handled in all the wrong ways. Attempts to elicit referrals sometimes seem forced or in poor taste and can do more harm than good.
So, rather than following those broken formulas, build brand equity using these 4 best practices:
- Actually surprise and delight.
“Surprise and delight” is one of the most overused phrases in marketing, but it works. To truly surprise a client, you can’t just meet expectations; you have to exceed them. Find little ways to wow clients. Often simple and low-cost investments can drive more referrals than the companies’ primary services.
- Focus on the inner circle.
Clients aren’t islands; they have significant others and families and friends. These inner circles have more influence on your clients than you could ever hope to have. The same applies to assistants. They may not be gatekeepers for referrals, but they’re definitely game-changers. Keep an eye on the behind-the-scenes assistants and by treating the assistant like an equal, they will speak favorably of you and be more doors for me.
- Stop asking for referrals.
Have you ever read something similar to, “The finest compliment you could give me is a referral to your friends and family” on a business card or email signature. If you need to beg for a referral, do you really deserve one? People naturally refer businesses they’ve had good experiences with. Focus on the experience, not the presentation.
- Become an expert.
When you yourself reach expert status, the barriers start to drop. Speaking at any event obviously brings in referrals and leads, but it also boosts credibility. When your customers or clients hear that you’re speaking in well-known events, they’ll want to ‘show off’ to their friends and family.
Your referral partners and customers are real people, and sabotaging your own brand equity will only make them think less of you. Instead, focus on the little things; this will actually help you build more meaningful, long-term relationships.