Keep A Steady Stream
of Referrals Flowing In
Craig Satterfield ECCS
The Cruise Scholar
Referrals are valuable. It is proven they are the least expensive way to develop new business.
They are going to keep you in business. How would you like it if most of your business came as a result of referrals? I know I would love it and in actuality after all of these years my referrals are pretty high I am pleased to say.
I am sure you are doing everything you can to offer the best service and best selection of travel products and good prices. Hopefully, your clients love you and some of them refer clients to you. If that is happening then you are probably flooded with all the business you need, right? If your clients like you and want you to succeed then why are they not referring all of their friends and relatives to you?
Maybe it is time to learn the art of asking for referrals and testimonials for your business. There are studies out there that prove the fact that if you don’t ask for referrals you don’t get referrals.
So why don’t you ask? Do you forget? Maybe you just don’t feel comfortable asking. Be proud of the work you have done for your travelers that way it should be easy to ask. Keep this in your mind, “GREAT CLIENTS WILL BRING YOU GREAT REFERRALS!”
So today is the best day to start your campaign to start building your business with referrals. You will want to strive to have as much business as possible as a result of referrals. The value of word of mouth advertising will fill your pockets and those new clients will refer as well. Referrals are extremely valuable because:
1. They open new opportunities that you didn’t know existed.
2. They give you more credibility. Referrals are preselling you.
3. It is a lot more fun to work with a referral.
4. It moves people to you so you can build your business.
5. Referrals are so much more profitable.
Because you didn’t have to pay to find these clients, you can include them in with the marketing costs for your repeat clients. Referrals are great because these new clients feel like they already know you and you have already started to know them too.
Have you been asking for endorsements from your happy clients to post on your website?
People love to work with the best and since you are everybody needs to know that. After your exhaustive marketing of your brand and getting your Google positioning on the first page, you want to make sure that when new clients open your website they see glowing and honest endorsements from real returning clients.
It is just a matter of getting into the habit of asking for feedback which you can post on line. This is a very part of your on-line reputation which a whole chapter is devoted to in my forthcoming book, Confessions from the Cruise Scholar.
You may have to teach your clients how to write endorsements to make the best impact. Writing too perfectly could look like a fake entry but a well-crafted review with specifics will get the attention you want from the review. Posting how to submit a review on Yelp for example is another way to cement your commitment to be active in looking for referrals.
Share the fact that the majority of your business is from repeat and referral clients. Again be proud of what you do and how well you do it. Having clients sing your praises in social media is an instant way to start building your potential referral business. These endorsements can be seen by all of your client’s friends on Facebook and other social media outlets.
When you see questions on travel in social media, be helpful and answer the questions you have expertise in. This is a subtle way to confirm your professionalism and expertise.
Be sure you keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Add a link in your profile to your website page that directs to your referrals. Also include a call out to forward this information to others that might be interested in your services. Remember your vendors and partners are good sources for referrals too.
Have any of you offered rewards for referrals? Since you are kicking your referral business into high gear, you may want to consider a reward for those that send you referrals. Figure out a way that works for you to reward each referral your existing clients send to you. Systemize the process so you can register how much new business is coming to you. Keep track of it to see that it continues to work.
Learn to get comfortable asking for referrals and your clients will start to expect you to mention it each time. Make sure your clients know you have a referral program and refer to it on a regular basis. Remind your clients every time when you follow up with them after their trip. Since they are excited about how successful their trip went and are generally very happy with your services then this is the time to remind them of referrals.
When your clients give you a compliment, say thank you and also remind them that you have a referral program in place just for them. Tell them how thankful you would be to get referrals from them. You really cannot thank your repeat clients enough for helping keep you in business.
I personally like to discuss what they have to say about their trip after they return over the phone but you could also set up a questionnaire on line as well. In this questionnaire you can ask if the client would allow you to share this information on your website!
Networking with other business people is also a good way to develop warm leads. Use other business owners’ testimonials to help you grow too. You have opportunities to meet influential people every day so don’t forget to ask. Supporting each other’s business is a great way to build your network and develop a steady stream of leads. This is an extremely powerful way to get your brand out there. When you help another business person grow it can only help your business as well.
Make it extremely simple for clients to share a referral and endorsement by adding a link to your website, your emailed questionnaire, on your emails and anywhere else clients can spend a few minutes telling others how good you are. Don’t keep it a secret that your business thrives on referrals and testimonials.
Remember to give referrals too. This is one of the best ways for people to return the favor.