Getting referrals from existing customers is one of the best ways to grow your business. Unfortunately, some businesses make a series of mistakes that cost them potential new customers.
If you aren’t attracting new customers through word-of-mouth, then you need to reassess your referral marketing strategy. The biggest mistake is that you may give off the impression that you are too busy.
There are several reasons your customers may be reluctant to refer new business to you. Here are some tips to change your messaging.
Stop over emphasizing how busy you are
Entrepreneurs have a tendency to constantly talk about how busy they are. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Running a business is a massive investment of your time and energy. You are going to feel overwhelmed at times.
- Many business owners pride themselves on their work ethic. Venting about how overworked they are is almost a subtle way of bragging.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of reasons that complaining about being overworked will send the wrong message to potential customers:
- You may sound unappreciative of your existing customers. You wouldn’t be able to make a living without them. When you complain about being overworked, they may feel like you are blaming them for your troubles. That obviously isn’t your intention, but it may come across that way.
- You are telling customers that you are too busy to take on new work.
- You may sound like you don’t like your job or are starting to feel burnt out. This may make it sound like you intend to give up on your business or stop caring about doing quality work.
Refraining from telling customers how busy you are can make them feel more comfortable referring business. They will feel more appreciative and realise that you can handle what new referrals.
Always deliver consistent and timely service
You may be telling customers that you are too busy for new clients without even realizing it. Unfortunately, these unspoken messages are often delivered in a much more negative way.
The biggest way that businesses tell customers that they are too busy to take on new business is by delivering poor quality work or failing to get it done on time. This is a sign that you may be cutting corners or have taken on too much work to meet the needs of your existing customers.
Whatever the reason, inconsistent, untimely and poor quality service will hamper your customers’ willingness to recommend you to others.
Take the extra time (or seek outside help) to review your systems and resources to find ways to embrace and streamline a growing business (or even planning for temporary spikes).
Eagerly talk about growing your business
Don’t be shy about telling people that you are passionate about growing your business. This sends the opposite message alluded to in the section above.
You aren’t just telling customers that you are willing to take on new work. You are also telling them that you are passionate about your business. This makes them more likely to believe in you, because people that are enthusiastic about their work tend to deliver higher quality results.
Make it clear that you are always committed to helping new customers
Customers will be far more likely to refer business if you make it clear that you can handle new business. However, requesting new referrals may not be enough.
Rather than focusing on how new referrals will benefit your business, you should emphasise how you will help new customers. Your existing customers are more concerned about protecting their relationship with their friends and colleagues than they are about helping you grow your business. It would be very unpleasant if they referred them to a company that failed to satisfy them. They aren’t going to give you referrals unless they are confident that you will meet or exceed expectations.
Make it clear that you are committed to helping every customer. This should be clear in both your marketing and the quality of your work.
If a customer mentions that somebody else may be interested in your business, ask detailed questions to learn more about the types of services that they need. This will prove that you are committed to offering quality service.
So next time someone asks you how you’re going at work, let them know that you’re loving it (helping lots of customers) and that you are open for new business!
And being “too busy” is better than not being busy enough – right?
By Steve Holmes
Looking for an easy way to generate more referrals? Check out FeedsyReferrals