Who Do You Recommend?
  By Debbie Cline

The greatest form of flattery is a referral. Buzzy Rocket has been a 100% referral business since we were founded in 2011. Referrals help you attract and acquire customers who are more loyal and profitable. Referral sales require almost no financial investment, but they bring in very valuable warm leads. 

Referred leads have a 30% higher conversion rate than contacts acquired by other marketing means, and referred customers have a 25% higher profit margin, a 37% higher retention rate and a 16% higher lifetime customer value. Referrals also take less time to close than other leads.

Do you wish that your company received more referrals?  Ask for them! According to Dale Carnegie, 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of salespeople ask for them.

Referral marketing isn’t just for B2C businesses. B2B decision-makers also turn to people they trust when deciding which purchases to make. 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral. When a peer recommends a product to a B2B decision-maker, they listen.            

Remember that you need to earn a referral. Your existing customers are your best customers, so commit to building lasting relationships with them from the outset.  Customers will only share your product or service with others if they have an authentic relationship and highly positive view of you as well as your business and solutions. You need to have a truly great product or service that is worth spreading the word about, and strong customer support, so your customers remain satisfied and be enthusiastic about referring your business to others. So what is the secret to increasing referrals? Knowing when to ask, how to ask, and what to do after the ask. 

When to Ask

You should only ask for referrals after your customers see your product or service as valuable. Customers are often very receptive to giving a reference after a launch, profitable quarter, or other success that has relevance to your relationship and engagement.

How to Ask

The key to asking for a referral is to make it easy. The very first contact a referred lead has with your business should come directly from the customer. Ideally you can work with your client to craft a compelling, personalized message that comes right from them to their peer. The simplest way to go about this is to send an email template/example to your customer, let them know that they can use it if they’d like or of course they can write their own. The email should never feel like a sales pitch.

After You Ask

Say thank you. As soon as the client shares that they have sent a reference send a thank you email.  Depending on your business, number of clients and transaction value it is a great move to send a handwritten thank you note. A second thank you touchpoint should be sent when you connect with the prospect. When the prospect becomes a customer a third thank you and a small gift as a token of your appreciation is appropriate.

Referral marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing efforts. Your customers are your greatest assets, and encouraging them to send you referrals can have a significant impact on your business. With great employees, a great product and amazing customer service, more than halfway there. Empower your audience with the right tools and incentives to spread the word, and you’ll be rewarded with real, sustainable growth.

At Buzzy Rocket we're passionate about supporting startups. Whether you are a client or not, we want to support your vision and your growth. We know first hand how exciting, difficult, fun, and lonely it can be to bring your vision to life. Contact us for more information about how we can support your startup and/or if you want to be considered for the Founder Spotlight Series.

Debbie is co-founder, chief of customer success at Buzzy Rocket and yellow lab lover. From LA to London, she is well known as an expert in creating that certain elusive magic that drives explosive growth at the intersection of companies, customers and mobile. She has proven strategic vision, and isn’t afraid to get in the trenches. In fact, she’s been doing this at companies big and small for 25+ years. Her background includes executive level positions at both public companies and startups where she has proven over and over again that her passion, drive and results oriented perspective get it done. She is tenacious, loves the game changer and loves to win.

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