How do I get my clients to help me expand my business?
I have a growing number of happy, loyal customers and would love to find a way to ask them to help me grow. I know they have many friends that would love our products too. How should I go about asking my clients to help me spread the word to their network?
Asking for reviews and testimonials is a great way to ask your clients to help. You can then leverage those reviews into marketing material to promote your business based on Top Rated Reputation and have others brag how your business is the authority in your local market.
You can offer your existing clients a discount for referring new clients to you. Or as the nice weather ushers in, you can assemble by invitation a gathering at a nearby bar or lounge after work hours (Let's say Happy Hour 5:50 to 7:30 PM) where these business owners-clients can meet and therefore create some synergy. Here you can show case your product line(s) in a relaxed atmosphere.
Get an online optimized website and use text alerts. Let me know if you have an interest and I can help you get started.
You can also request a Free Virtual Business Card. Text the word “FREE”, then a space, then L618229 to “55255” . This will help expand your business.
Ideally, there are 3 ways to go about this task.
1. Casually - If you have a good rapport with your clients, request them on a personal level for a referral. Request them for specific referrals, it will make it easier for them to give you a yes or a no for example ask them to connect you to XXXX, because you believe your expertise will help them push their products as well.
2. Semi-formally - If you have delivered a great product to your existing clients, you can request them to connect you to specific contact.
3. Incentiveize them- Give your current clients a 10% discount on the following invoice if any referral they provide signs up for the service.
In my experience, the best form of advertising is word of mouth. We got all our clients only thru referrals and its easier to break into new accounts this way.
But the flip side is also true- if you screw up something, you have a higher chance of the customer bad mouthing you than referring you. So remember a) dont screw up, and b) make sure you ask happy customers for referrals.
Hope this helps!
This is my favorite topic in networking circles. I think most people think that to expand their business, or to gain a greater number of clients and more work, they have to buy some sore of magic PR tools and initiatives. Not true.
I have business cards and on the front side is all the information of what I do (I run my own freelancing operation where I handle communication efforts, content writing, ghostwriting, research, marketing, social media creation and upkeep, etc). In the beginning, I had one client, my father's plumbing parts business her inherited and really could't operate. I went to trade shows, made email lists of all clients and put them into the Panella Clean-Out database. I started writing newsletterrs, giving promotional incentives. etc.
After that experience is what my freelancing really took off! I got hired by a best-selling author who asked me to be a researcher for his book. I then got hired from a motivational speaker/author/and big charity guy who found me online. Soon, after that I moved from MD to MA where the first author worked and lived. He got me clients in that area because of referring them, and they would do the same. 5 years later, I still get work I love!
My advice is my request on the back of my business cards, "We love referrals! The greatest compliment I can receive is referrals." I think everyone does so much to market their product, or service (which you very well should), but if a friend tells a friend, then tells two more people- you've now got chain going. And sometimes it keeps going on, no one stops it.
But there are always other methods besides word of mouth, though I think it works best and its the oldest form of promoting. You can have a website with a "Testimonials" page. This is an opportunity for clients to write their experiences (and if you don't like it, you don't post it!). I don't know what it that you do, but there are also review sites. You can't personally what they write, but make sure you keep up with what you are writing. I know I was once asked by a chef friend to write a review on the site called, Yelp! I went to his restaurant, ate his food, sincerely liked it, then went home and wrote a positive review. I saw why he asked me, one woman wrote a scathing review, attacked and insulted all of the staff! Though I knew him, he was in the back cooking, so my friend who went along and I mostly interacted with the waiters and bus attendants. They couldn't have been sweater.
So, keep a watch for those- the easiest way is to make a Google alert that will send you can e-mail anytime your name is mentioned, or your business name is. And you may not be able to delete a nagative comment, but a friend can counter it with a positiove one. Or some sites, like I know on Trip Adviser, the owner/manager/or whoever is the employee that monitors that, can comment on a posting. Just be professional about it and apologize "they felt that way about your service and that they should be open to giving it another try because that is something you have never heard anyone say. And mention, you take pride in your customer service and your skills to do the job, and so on..."
But, word of mouth is definitely old school, but it works. And when it comes to the world of social media, you can ask a customer you know well to perhaps write a testimonial for your site, or on any review site of their choosing.
I hope my long rant helped! And good luck in getting your customers to be involved in promoting your services.
Similar to what's been said, ask those clients nicely if they would refer your services to those that they know could benefit. Continue to provide great customer service and continue to check in on those that you have worked with in the past. Maybe even offering them a small discount on services if they refer other clients to you could work as well, but that would have to fit into your business model.
Just create a killer referral program. We wrote a book on it. I have it in digital form. Email me if you want a copy.
Get testimonials that you can put on your website and that you can print and put into a binder so you can show people.
Ask them for referrals consistently.
Give outstanding customer service and show them that you genuinely care and aren't just out for a buck.
Educate your customers on how to recognize when someone else needs your services.
There are thousands of ways and it would take
a little time to see what your specific needs are but you could try a coupon or voucher for starters.
There are different ways, but the simplest is the direct -
YOU: (client's name), you said this campaign is really paying off, and in general you're pretty happy with how I'm helping you, right?
CLIENT: Yeah, you're doing a great job.
YOU: Well I was wondering about other owners you know who I could help as much. Would you scroll through your contacts and I'll jot down the names and numbers.