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Published on April 20, 2009

Ed’s Marketing Genius – Part 3: Winning new customers (getting them to respond!)

In the last two Marketing Genius posts we have looked at the four sources of new business and the likely amount of business that comes from each of them. To remind ourselves:

  • Bluebirds     5%
  • Referrals     15%
  • New names     20%
  • Old contacts     60%

We have dealt with attracting Bluebirds, so what about Referrals? Is it possible to have an established procedure for obtaining business from referrals? 

Of course it is!

We have found that referrals can come from both existing customers and also, surprisingly, from business that you HAVEN’T won – but only if you actually ask for it!

So let’s start with the easiest source of referrals – your existing customers. 

Given that they are, and continue to be, your customers we could safely assume that they are satisfied with the product or service that you provide [if they weren’t it is safe to assume that they would shop elsewhere!].

So why not use this satisfaction to get you new business?

You can do this in two ways.

Way 1: Ask them outright – simply ring your best customers and ask them the following questions:

  • “Are you happy with the service we provide you?” 
  • “Given that you know what we do could you suggest three other people who could benefit from our service?”

Amazingly you will find that each of these people will suggest at least one person for you to contact. In fact in many instances they will manage the introduction for you! 

And what better introduction than from a satisfied customer who is proactively recommending you and endorsing you to another potential customer? You can’t pay for leads like that!

Way 2: Use satisfaction surveys

All businesses should have some form of satisfaction survey to ensure that you service/product provision remains up-to-scratch, and this can be a valuable tool for harvesting referrals. Especially if you feel a bit awkward about asking face to face!

Within the satisfaction survey ask for referrals – and maybe offer an incentive such as, a free meal at a local restaurant for every person referred! And if each one of your customers puts you in contact with a least one new potential lead you have the opportunity to significantly grow your business! 

However one word of caution – a referral is NOT guaranteed business. You still need to convert that lead!

And if you don’t believe that this approach can work, try it – I did and the first person I asked put us forward for a contract worth £2k per month without hesitation. So I stand to gain a potential £25,000 p.a. of new business for a 2-minute phone call, cost 20p!

The second area for referrals is amongst your prospects where you have perhaps been unsuccessful. THIS TIP IS DYNAMITE IF YOU ARE A SERVICE PROVIDER!

So next time you are following up on a new business meeting to find out if you secured the business remember that regardless of the outcome “You are going to get something out of this”!

Again try this – it works every time! For best results do it over the phone, but it will work in a letter too!

When you contact your prospect and they tell you that, unfortunately, you were unsuccessful in securing the project simply say the following:

  • “I am terribly sorry to hear that – we were really looking forward to working with you on the project. 
  • Given that you know what we do could you think of 3 other people who could benefit from our service?”

Then sit back and wait – they will make some contacts for you! I guarantee! Why? Because they feel GUILT – and the best way of ridding themselves of this guilt is to help you!

So if you want to find business cost effectively try these techniques – I guarantee that they will deliver new business. And the best thing is – it won’t cost you more than the price of a phone call or stamp!

This is a form of direct marketing that you can practice easily!

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