If you want a booming business, by far one of the best forms of advertising is word of mouth referrals. Word of mouth marketing tends to be more successful than print or social media advertising, and if you can capture the local market, you will find new business comes easily.
Why word of mouth is better
Trust: Studies show that people are more likely to trust a business, product or service recommended to them by someone they know. People believe that friends and family will give them good advice so if you can be recommended, it is more likely that people will trust you than simply from reading your advertising.
Prior knowledge: If someone has been recommended to your business, the chances are that they will already know something about it. The person recommending them has probably told them something about the product or service while they were passing on the contact information. This makes your job easier because you are selling to someone who is already better informed than a cold contact.
The fact that someone has been looking for recommendations of businesses in your area also means they are more likely to convert into a sale because they have already shown their intention to buy or use a service.
Knock on effect: If you can provide a good service for the person who was recommended to you, there is a high chance that they will then recommend you to other people, increasing your customer base further.
How to get word of mouth referrals
Firstly you have to be good at what you do in the first place. No-one is going to refer you to a family member, friend or colleague if you didn’t do a great job for them. In fact, you risk the opposite happening as statistics suggest that people are more likely to talk about a company that did a bad job than one that did a good job.
Secondly, you need to maintain those high standards for future customers. Otherwise, you risk not only losing them but also previous customers. Imagine someone is referred to you and you don’t provide them with great service. Chances are they will go back to the person who referred you and tell them about their experience which might put your original customer off using you again.
Make sure each customer has your details handy for future reference. This is where things such as promotional marketing items come in handy – think of those fridge magnets, pens or notepads you have lying around with business names on them. If you can leave your customers with something it makes it easy for them to pass your details on. If you market online, you could also think about a regular customer newsletter so you stay in people’s minds.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with simply asking people. Also known as referral marketing, you can give a friendly reminder when you’ve finished a job or delivered your product asking customers to let people know if they thought the service was good. You can also ask people to leave reviews of your business on Facebook or Google My Business if you use them, or for testimonials for your website as forms of online word of mouth reviews.
You can also use your networking links for word of mouth referrals. Ask contacts to pass on your details to people they think would benefit from your services and offer to do the same in return. But make sure you are still doing a good job!