Growing your business through repeat business and referrals is much more cost effective and efficient than trying to market to new clients. Not only that, referrals from satisfied customers are more likely to be your ideal customers. When you’re casting your marketing net out to the general public, it tends to be more hit-or-miss.
When I started my first business, I didn’t know a single person in town. I was 23 years old, but I looked like I was 17. I went from business to business passing out my homemade business cards and asking if they needed help with their computer systems. Looking back, I’m not sure how anyone took me seriously. After weeks of being rejected, I was finally given the opportunity to work on computer systems for a couple of very small businesses.
Flash forward two years and I had more business than I could handle on my own. The best part was I grew my business to that point spending almost nothing on advertising. (Probably less than $200). It was all through word of mouth and repeat customers. I became very good at getting referrals, not just because of my technology skills, but also because of the way I treated clients.
Today, I want to share four secrets I used to get repeat business and referrals that you can also implement in your business!
Keep your customer list handy.
I frequently pull up my list of customers and scroll through them. I use this tactic to:
- Reach out to customers I haven’t heard from in a while. Check in on them and let them know you’re still around and care about the products or services you provided them.
- Inform customers of new products or services you have to offer that they may be interested in.
- Find out how I can help them if they run a business. I might know someone looking for their products or services that I could refer to them.
Ask your customers for referrals.
This one is a little uncomfortable at first. It may sound sleazy, but really all you’re offering is to provide your quality products and services to those who need what you do. Prepare how you’re going to ask for the referral ahead of time. You may say something like:
“Thank you for your business, Mr. Smith. I’m looking to provide more [insert your product or service here] for people who need it. If you have any friends or family that would be interested in what I do [or provide], I would love to help them out!”
You’ll find that people genuinely want to help people; especially if you’re providing them a quality product or service.
Leave customers with a business card.
This is one that many businesses overlook. It’s so simple, yet so effective. I can’t tell you how many times I would return to a customer’s home or business to work on their computer and see my business card sitting on their desk or taped to their computer.
Sure, I fixed computers so obviously they would put it next to their computer. No matter what business you’re in though, half of your customers will keep your business card safely stored. Then, when someone they know needs what your business offers, who’s information do you think they’re going to hand out?
Offer a small discount for repeat business or referrals.
Even if it’s only 10%, people love discounts. Offering a small incentive to get referrals or repeat business works. Just think if you own a plumbing business and your customers can get 10% off their next service call. That could be $20, $30 or even $40! Not only are they getting benefit, it’s a cheap way for you to gain more business.
Start implementing these four tactics as part of your business and you’ll be delighted at how quickly you can grow through repeat business and referrals!