That moment when a customer realizes and acknowledges when a good job was done can happen at any time. Your challenge is to solicit referrals at that moment.

The world has changed for every industry. Business models have been modified and adjusted to meet new demands and new opportunities. Most importantly, companies are no longer the most important factor in their own brand – their customers are. The wrong criticism on social media can force a company into “damage control mode” or, in some cases force the company out of business. Average consumers now wield tremendous influence through digital media and the enhanced power of referrals.

It is no longer enough to wait for a client to tell a prospective client how amazing you are. You need referrals on a larger scale. Assume your competitors are always looking for new ways to tap the power of referrals.

Referrals Have Always Worked

And they always will. Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful and trusted methods by which consumers choose a brand. Many businesses -even entire industries- have relied on word of mouth referrals for their existence. Lawyers are an excellent example of this. The traditions and esteem of the legal profession naturally lend themselves to a proclivity for clients to tell their friends, family, or colleagues about the great (or horrible) job their attorney did on their case. At a cost of $100-$500 an hour, people want personal stories of success.

But now referrals can be successfully generated through more than a phone call or a Chamber of Commerce mixer. There are means and methods to incorporate referral solicitations into your current or new marketing strategy.

New Power of Referrals Opportunities

Facebook lawyer referral

The example you see here was taken directly from the Facebook Page of a celebrity friend of ours. He, unfortunately, recently went through a divorce and when it was done, this was what he said about his attorney. This celebrity has a few thousand social media connections. This simple post (which includes the attorney’s name and phone number) is far more valuable than if he had simply told a friend or family member. He told thousands of people. Instantly. People that value his opinion.

The name before the phone number is more than just a name. It is a link to the attorney’s Facebook Page. A convenient form of contact was just facilitated by a simple Facebook post. According to the Small Business Administration: “At the high-value end of the referral scale is an existing customer who facilitates a sale.”

As you look at your own methods of earning referrals, ask yourself:

  • Can your referrals not only sustain your business, but enable it to grow?
  • If you are the principal or a senior partner, would the firm continue without your referral network?
  • Are your competitors including referral solicitation as part of their marketing?

Making Referrals Part of your Marketing

There are three steps to successful referral marketing and tapping the power of referrals:

  1. Earning – As Ted Rubin says in his Return on Relationship™ coaching, “Provide the most value, you’ll get the most business.” Do your job so well that your clients will want to refer you to others.
  2. Soliciting – Now that you’ve earned a referral, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your Arkside Account Manager will give you multiple ways by which you can ask for a referral, review, or testimonial that is convenient for the client.
  3. Promoting – Show prospects why they should choose to work with you…why others have chosen to work with you. Include your testimonials and other referral comments on your website, social media, and even presentations. Remember, part of online advertising is showing search engines what you want them to see!

Summary

Your business doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for one friend to tell another friend how great you are. You can not survive and expand by bread alone. You need to initiate activities of scale and develop new means by which referral business (the best kind of business) can be generated. Social media and search engines like Google and Yahoo! offer the tools to achieve a higher level of success with the new power of referrals.

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