Word-of-mouth recommendations are among the most powerful ways to generate leads and grow your sales business.
It might often seem as though generating good, positive word-of-mouth about your business is something you have little control over, but there are some simple everyday practises you can embed in your business that help you grow your network and encourage referrals.
Why it matters
Having an active and strong referral network is one of the most effective ways of attracting people to your business. This is because people are more likely to take the advice or opinions of a trusted friend or family member when it comes to choosing to hire a service or purchase a product.
It’s all about authenticity. People are more likely to feel as though recommendations that come from people they know are based on their real experience. They typically have nothing to gain by recommending your products or services, so their advice is more authentic.
Building a strong network of customers who communicate not just with you, but also with each other, also helps build a sense of community around your brand and business. That helps build loyalty and generates not just new customers but repeat business.
That community and loyalty also helps balance out the odd lacklustre review for your business or services. A few ambivalent or negative reviews are difficult for most businesses to avoid completely, but if most of the reviews and conversations about your products or services are positive, those less favourable ones take on far less significance.
To help ensure positive feedback about your business spreads here are a few easy tips.
Ask for referrals
Don’t hesitate to ask for reviews from your customers when your deal is completed. Just a sentence or two about their experience with you that you can share with others via your website, social channels and other customer communications can be powerful. It can also help you make tweaks to improve customer service, which also demonstrates to customers that you’re listening to them.
Referrals are particularly important if you are an online or e-commerce business as it helps build connections when you don’t have a face-to-face relationship with customers.
You could even encourage referrals by offering your existing customer and/or the customer they refer to you, a discount or special deal.
At the very least find out how your new customers came to hear about you. This can help you plan your future marketing strategies and understand where to focus your attention.
Build relationships and be visible
Demonstrate an interest in your customers’ lives and community, not just in their business with you. This could be anything from participating in local events or supporting charities, to sharing content that helps people solve a problem connected to your business.
Sending personalised emails or newsletters, rather than generic marketing material is also more likely to build trust and engagement with your audience.
Customer service is key
To ensure great word-of-mouth referrals, you have to make sure you are providing stellar customer service. Create a customer service strategy that addresses customers’ goals and the expectations they will have of you, such as communication, speed, transparency and outcomes. Listen to feedback and constantly evolve your strategy to improve.
David Forman’s Sales Performer programme is the ultimate sales toolkit for all salespeople and is available in both virtual and in-person learning formats, to suit your needs. We can also customise a training solution for your business or a group of employees, find out more here.