Since referrals end up creating 65% of new business opportunities, it’s essential to make it a crucial part of your overall business growth strategy. If you’re wondering how to get referrals for your business, look no further. Throughout this blog, we’ll highlight the following topics:
A business referral is when a satisfied client refers your company’s product or service to someone in their network. These individuals in their network can be family, friends, business owners, or other connections that could benefit from your company’s product or service. This word-of-mouth marketing strategy is a lead generation tactic that can be done naturally or as a result of a conscious referral marketing strategy.
While there are a variety of ways to generate sales, a client referral sales strategy is the most ideal lead generation tactic because it enables key decision-makers (KDM) to move through the sales process quicker and be more willing to pay more for a higher-quality service.
Additionally, a referral sales strategy boosts the referral’s loyalty with your company. This is because they start the B2B partnership with trusted insight from a credible referral source.
A client referral sales strategy is essential for gaining new business opportunities and retaining loyal customers. While generating referrals seems like an easy way to get new customers, why do sales teams struggle with getting referrals?
There’s no wrong way to ask for business through referrals. However, there are some ways to do it better. Here are some tips for getting business referrals from existing customers:
One of the biggest pitfalls of a company’s referral sales strategy is not asking the right customers at the right time. If an existing customer is not happy with your company’s products or services, do not make a referral request because it won’t end in your favor. Additionally, if your sales team just signed on a new customer, it’s not the right time to send a referral request because they don’t know if they’re satisfied with your company yet.
When making referral requests, make sure a client is happy with your company’s products and services and has first-hand experience working with your team. If a client is thrilled with your company’s support, they’re much more likely to refer you to other businesses in their network.
While many customer success reps ask for client referrals during monthly check-ins, another impactful way to ask the right customers for referrals is by making referral-focused phone calls and sending referral request emails. Many B2B companies design referral email templates that their customer success reps can routinely send to clients. When designing email referral templates, it’s essential to craft each email as it aligns with a client’s particular product or service. This enables your sales team to personalize each email and makes the clients feel like the emails were designed specifically for them.
When sales teams ask for referrals from existing customers, they typically perceive it as what the customer can do for them. But what if we reframe the referral pitch to be about what it has to offer the customer? As a referral source, your customer has the opportunity to point their network in a good direction, making them and your business look good and be perceived as a reliable, trusted referral source.
Some B2B businesses are solely based around networking and presenting business opportunities to people who do business with you. For instance, let’s suggest that you have car troubles and take your vehicle to your trusted car repair shop. However, your repair shop says it’s an issue with the transmission, but they don’t have the tools or expertise to fix the transmission. However, they refer you to another car repair shop that specializes in fixing car transmissions. This presents both car repair shops as trusted leaders in their industry and puts both companies in a positive light.
As mentioned previously, email templates are great marketing collateral assets when asking for client referrals. When sending referral request emails, it’s essential to include unique digital marketing content that they can share with their network. This marketing collateral supports top-of-mind awareness and enables your company to build authority with other businesses.
Here are some examples of digital marketing content you can share with clients to get referrals:
While giving out referrals for the sake of being a good business partner is great in theory, it’s not always a reliable referral sales strategy. If you want to ramp up your referral sales strategy, consider offering an incentive to customers who recommend your company to their network. Offering an incentive could advance your referral program because existing clients also benefit from recommending your business to their network.
Referral rewards could consist of anything, such as a discount from your current product or service cost or an additional product or service with no additional charge. In addition, if the client sees the value in the free product or service you offer them, they could implement that product or service into their ongoing partnership.
Many B2B businesses also offer their clients other incentives for generating referrals, including local business gift cards, lunch for the office, or other non-business-related gifts. One of the best things about offering incentives is that you can make your referral rewards anything you want them to be. However, it’s crucial to choose a referral reward that fits your company and target market’s values and is something they’d be interested in working toward.
For example, remember that scene from Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold is expecting a big bonus from his boss so he can build an in-ground pool for his family? If you haven’t seen the movie already (SPOILER ALERT), he was actually gifted a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. While this scene is specifically about an end-of-the-year bonus, it still relates to the referral incentive scenario because becoming a member of the Jelly of the Month Club is not something he would’ve worked so hard towards. Long story short, make sure the incentive you’re offering is something your clients want.
Long-term customers are much more likely to refer your company to their network than newer customers. By building a customer loyalty program, you acknowledge how much you appreciate your loyal clients. Being a loyal customer enables them to receive discounts or promotions to retain the relationship with your company.
Building a loyalty program encourages customers to keep coming back because they receive an incentive if they continue to invest in your company’s products or services. For example, let’s suggest that you’re a cleaning product manufacturer that partners with local commercial cleaning companies to supply their cleaning products. Through a customer loyalty program, you can offer your cleaning company partners more or new products at a discounted rate. As long as they continue to purchase their cleaning materials from your company, they save money and have access to more advanced products.
Since your company has such a great customer loyalty program for their business, they’ll be more than happy to tell their network about the incentives you provide. This encourages businesses in their network to partner with your company as well.
Social media is a powerful lead generation tool for B2B companies. Using social media to generate referrals is great because you can qualify a client’s referrals by researching them online. With social media, your sales team can explore referrals by looking at their company pages or a potential KDM’s LinkedIn profile. This enables your sales team to learn about the referred company and find common interests with the KDM as a way to connect on a personal level.
You can leverage the power of social media to send current clients individual messages about being a referral. In addition to emails and phone calls, social media is another avenue to connect and build relationships with clients.
In addition to personally messaging current customers, your marketing team can post general social media content that encourages existing customers to tag business referrals for an incentive. Here’s an example social media post for your referral marketing strategy:
“[Insert company name] collaborates with B2B companies across the nation to help them generate new business opportunities. Tag someone in your network who could benefit from an optimized lead generation strategy and get 30% off next month’s outsourced sales and marketing services! 👇”
LinkedIn is the ideal social media platform for connecting with businesses and KDMs who meet your ideal customer criteria. With LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature, you have the opportunity to find a potential business opportunity through current client connections. Here’s how to approach this referral technique:
- Click the search bar at the top of the page
- Select “People” from the drop-down menu
- Filter your search by second-degree connections
- Additionally, you can filter by industry, position title, relevant keywords, and target market region to further qualify potential referrals
From here, you can strategize and find the ideal referral candidate and bring it up to your customer by phone call, email, or personal message.
Some clients may feel uncomfortable giving referrals for other businesses in their network, and that’s OK. This could be because they’ve had previous service providers do great work for them, but not for their referrals. If a client refuses to be a referral, accept it and don’t push them into something they don’t feel comfortable with. Making too many referral requests could negatively impact your clients’ perception of your company, making you lose a client rather than gain one.
If clients aren’t willing to make referrals, you can leverage your business partnership in other ways. If they’re not ready to be a referral, consider asking them to:
- Be a customer success case study or provide a testimonial
- Rate your company on Google, Facebook, or Glassdoor
- Fill out a survey to let your company know how they’re doing
Generating business through referrals should be a major component of your lead generation strategy. Since B2B companies get a significant number of their business opportunities through referrals, it’s essential to request them often and effectively.
Following our tips for getting business referrals will help you advance your referral sales strategy. However, if you need a helping hand to generate leads and set B2B sales appointments, contact the sales experts at Abstrakt Marketing Group!