The best way to get new small business clients is through referrals from satisfied existing clients. But how do you make that happen? It’s easier than you think. You don’t have to ask your clients or contacts “Who do you know that would benefit from my services?” The typical direct sales type tactics for asking for referrals were developed over 70 years ago. And since you’re doing business now, and not with your grandpa, you need to do something different.
Try these three unique ideas for asking for referrals that will actually work.
Host an Event
Event marketing can help you grow your small business in a fun, relaxed way. Invite your clients and their friends to a special event sponsored by your small business. But don’t run a boring seminar. Think of something fun – like a wine tasting or a guided bike tour. It needs to be something that your clients, and their friends, would want to attend. Invite each client to bring a friend. It’s really a win-win because your guests have a great experience, and you get to break the ice with potential new clients.
If you want to up the impact factor, partner with another local business that serves the same clients in a different way. You can share the prep workload, co-brand the event, promote to both lists of clients and then share the new referrals.
With this technique, you can get referrals from other small businesses. Develop a great content piece – like a presentation – and then look for opportunities to co-brand it with another company. Here’s how it works: You’re a graphic designer that creates a presentation called “7 Steps to a Killer Visual Brand.” Who else would be interested in sharing that information? A small business coach? A copywriter who serves the same market? Find that person and then reach out. Offer to put both company names on the content in exchange for being introduced to their email list and social media contacts. When you place the presentation on Slideshare, let the co-branding partner know so you can both promote via social media.
Sponsor a Contest
This may seem a little gimmicky – but it works. Everybody likes free things. Try using your Facebook page to host a contest in order to give away a free service. Offer an enticing prize – like a free service provided to the winner – and then encourage your Facebook fans to enter by sharing the content with their friends. Everyone who shares gets an entry to win your free service, so the word spreads fast. Once the contest is over, you can reach out to entrants that didn’t win to offer your service at a special price.
How are you asking for referrals right now? Is it time to try these unique techniques?