One of the best ways to get new clients is to get referred by your former clients. If you think about where your referrals come from, you probably have 5-20 primary sources for referrals. But what can you do to engage these individuals and get them to provide you with more referrals? Try the following:
With social media, there are lots of ways to stay connected with former clients. Use the opportunity to offer incentives or contests to get people to share your work and brand with others. Have your clients tag you in their pictures. Tell them that they can receive a gift card or other reward for every referral that mentions them.
Schedule Lunch Dates
When asking for referrals, face-to-face is the best way to do it. So why not do it over lunch? It can be a great time for you to catch up with your former client. Get to know your former client better. Find out how he or she is doing. Learn about ways that you can help the client. When you find ways to help the client, the client will be more likely to help you, too. If you don’t want to do a lunch date, you can meet for coffee, dessert, or even an afternoon of golf.
Send Valuable Gifts
Sending gifts to your former clients can be a great way to keep your company’s name in their minds. As you send something, make sure that it’s not promotional in nature. Find something that your client would actually want and would actually value. Some things that you might consider include:
- Gift cards
- Food baskets
- Candy bouquets
- Customized photo frames
With the internet, less people are sending snail mail. However, your clients will appreciate a handwritten letter over an e-card. Take the time to write birthday cards, anniversary cards, or holiday cards. In the letters, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. And when they refer someone to you, take the time to send your former client a thank-you note. Let them know how much you appreciate the referral.
Make Phone Calls
If you can’t meet with your former clients face-to-face, make a phone call to touch base with them. Find out how they’re doing and focus on their needs. When you ask for a referral, be forward and direct. You could write a script and practice it, so you feel comfortable asking for referrals. You could also help them identify people that they could refer to get them thinking.
Since past clients are a great way to get more future clients, it’s important to provide each person with a remarkable experience. Make sure that you’re offering a level of service that will be worth telling their friends and acquaintances about. Then, follow up and stay connected with your past clients to continue to increase the number of referrals that you receive.
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