I am so excited to see all of the comments. Thank you AthenA, Annette, Heather, and Judy! We love seeing your comments and hope that more people will post. As I started responding to the comments, I realized I should turn it into an post so it will reach more of you.
Judy, thank you for sharing your past experience with referrals. You mentioned you were handing out your business card with your client’s name on the back. I think others can relate to you and your experience. I too handed out cards with my client’s name on the back. I didn’t have much of a return either. I find that the business card referral just did not speak as well for me. I found that having a certificate did more for me.
I found that having the referral card the size of a gift certificate made the referral card feel more like a gift certificate. I also found that when the referral card felt like a gift certificate, clients wanted to spend it like a gift certificate. I heard from new referrals that it was burning a hole in their pocket — they wanted to spend it. I also noticed that if the certificate was larger than a business card, it didn’t end up in the bottom of my client’s purse never to be seen again. My clients actually handed them out. Candy is just a little something extra, but who doesn’t like a little candy? Candy or chocolates is just a small affordable perk that is unexpected and makes people happy.
As I mentioned before, including an expiration date is really effective. Adding an expiration date creates a call to action — a reason to use the referral card soon. If you put an expiration date of six months from now, there is no urgency. Clients wait, forget about it, and eventually lose it. I would recommend the expiration date of a month. That gives a client plenty of time to use it. If the new referral calls in a panic and says the card is expired or is about to expire, let them know you will honor it. I simply say, “I will be happy to accommodate you. Let’s look at my books and reserve your appointment now.” Think about it — when you have a coupon that has an expiration date, you make sure you use it before it expires. You don’t want to miss out on a good deal. The same applies to the referral card.
Thank you Judy for your post. Hopefully this gives you some more information. Start a referral program and keep it going; we ALWAYS need referrals. Remember, clients move and have lifestyle changes, and our business keeps changing too.
Annette, thank you for admitting you are new at the “art of getting referrals.” We all have to start somewhere and somehow. Marathon runners don’t start by running a marathon, they train. We have to train too. We have to start by making a commitment to implementing a referral program. We have to put together a referral card and then get them printed. We have to assemble the referral bags, have them ready and nearby our station for easy accessibility. Then, we have to work on our approach. We have to be tuned into the cues our clients give us through conversation. “I’m attending a women’s retreat this weekend at church.” The bells should be going off, ding, ding, ding! This is the perfect setting. Now, how do you ask your clients to hand them out? I would say, “I put together some gift bags. Would you like to give everyone a little gift bag at the retreat? How many do you need?” We HEAR cues all the time from our clients, but how many times do we really LISTEN? They tell us all the time about book club, bible study, girl’s night out etc. But, sometimes we don’t listen to the cues. We have to get better at paying attention and responding. Annette, we all have to start somewhere. We all have to run our marathon one step at a time. So, don’t get overwhelmed. Simply take it step by step and you’ll do fine! You’ll start seeing new referrals and you’ll get better at the art of getting referrals.
Heather, I hope this will help you and get you through the complications you have experienced. Please keep us updated and let us know how it is going.
AthenA thanks for sharing and commenting on a few articles! I appreciate you spreading the word and I hope this helps your listeners.
Creating a referral card, implementing a referral program, listening for cues, and gifting referral cards — more ways to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!