You’ve heard the saying that the best kind of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. When you come recommended by a trusted friend, you bypass all the natural guards people would normally have towards you. They’re much more willing to try out your product or service.
Best of all, word-of-mouth marketing is completely free. If you can create a system that allows you to spread the word consistently, you’ll be able to gain traction without spending a single dime on marketing.
So how do you get recommendations? How can you increase your referrals? Here’s how.
==> Use the “Both Win” Program (Online)
Trying to incentivize people to tell their friends about your products or services can be a very tricky thing.
If you offer a bonus to someone for referring their friends, they might feel like they’re being paid to “sell” their friends.
For example, if you offer someone $5 or a 10% discount for every person they bring in, you might meet resistance because people don’t want to “sell” their friends for money.
On the other hand, if you give their friends a bonus when they’re referred, people might not be motivated enough to share. After all, there’s nothing in it for them – only their friends.
That’s why the “both win” programs are so effective. The way it works is simple: if someone refers a friend, both the referrer and the referee get a bonus.
Take Dropbox for example. Referrers who get people to sign up for a free account for Dropbox get an additional 250 MBs for free – and so do their friends.
Instead of feeling like they’re selling out their friends, people feel like they’re doing their friends a favor by sharing.
==> Asking for Referrals (Offline)
If you run an offline business, especially if it’s a service-oriented business, it really pays to master the art of asking for referrals.
Most people ask for referrals by saying something like “please tell your friends.” Of course, that doesn’t work very well at all.
How do you ask for referrals? The best way is to approach the referral as a win for both your customer and the person they’re referring.
Let’s say you’re selling CPA services. You specialize in helping lawyers save money on their taxes. After you’ve demonstrated your ability to help a lawyer save on their taxes, ask them:
“Do you know any other lawyers who might benefit from tax saving advice?”
The key here is to:
1) Be specific about who you want them to refer.
2) Be clear that it’s beneficial for them to refer a friend.
Do these two things and people will often think of someone in their life who could benefit and refer them to your business.
Referrals and word of mouth are key to a business’ success. Don’t just hope it will happen naturally – learn to facilitate it and help it grow.