Referrals can act as a huge driving force behind any small business.
One great way to generate referrals is by building a referral engine.
Another less-intensive strategy is to implement a few habits that will make customers want to actively recommend you to others.
In a recent post for OPEN Forum, Wise Bread‘s Julie Rains describes 11 free ways you can make your business one that people want to refer.
1. Offer a product or service that is unique in the marketplace (proprietary or better yet, patented) or is packaged, presented, and delivered in a way that is difficult or downright impossible to obtain otherwise.
2. Be reliable, even if you can’t be unique. Construct a product or provide a service that matches established standards (set by your business, your customer, or your industry) and performs as expected, every time.
3. Truly understand and convey your market positioning to potential referrers (such as current customers, colleagues in complementary businesses, and even competitors with whom you are friendly) so they will be aware of the very specific problems that you aim to solve. Even prospects who decide not to buy will refer those who have needs that fit your company’s offerings.
4. Build relationships with industry colleagues who frequently have contact with your targeted audience and will make referrals (e.g., web development firms who refer customers to graphic designers and photographers; wedding planners who make referrals to caterers or florists).
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