How to boost your sales referrals
Websites, online ads, and social media marketing are growing in importance. However, you cannot overlook the value of an old-fashioned, word-of-mouth referral. A good reference provides instant credibility to your business, based on the lead’s personal relationship with your client. Over time, your stellar, consistent service to your clients will generate referrals organically. But there are a few things you can do to help move this process along and boost your customer base.
1. Be someone people want to recommend
Are you someone you would recommend? People generally don’t make a referral if their experience is “just adequate.” You don’t suggest a product or service you don’t absolutely love, because your reputation is tied to your word. Business consultant and founder of BNI (Business Networking International), Dr. Ivan Misner writes,
“When you give a referral, you give a little of your reputation away. If the business you’ve referred someone to does a good job, it helps your reputation. But if it does a poor job, your reputation may be hurt.”
To earn the praise you must go above and beyond. Exceeding your clients’ expectations will get them talking about their experience with their friends and family.
2. Create a referral program
Think of creative ways you can encourage your clients to make a recommendation. This could be as simple as adding a referral link to your website. Offer your clients a small “extra” on their next trip if they can get a friend to send you a quote request. Make sure the reward you offer is suitable for the value of a referral. You don’t want to break your budget to get a bunch of leads that go nowhere.
3. Produce sharable content
Is your agency on social media? Use your platform to offer helpful, travel-specific content your followers will want to share on their personal pages. When your clients return from their trips, ask if you may post a photo and fun story from their trip. They are likely to re-share these photos, which may generate questions from their friends and family about your service.
4. Return the favor
Referring your clients to other businesses you partner with and trust will strengthen your network. It is an easy mention that helps both your clients and your business associates. Providing referrals within your professional network will not go unnoticed. Over time you will develop business relationships that are mutually constructive.
5. Simply ask
Many people in sales positions are hesitant to ask for referrals. They fear this will be awkward or make them sound too desperate for business. You might be surprised to find how effective a simple “ask” can be. I’ve seen an agent go so far as to include a line asking for referrals in his permanent email signature. It didn’t feel awkward or offensive at all. The best time to ask for one is right before you close the sale, once the big details are squared away, but you are still actively communicating. As you are finalizing your sale, simply say something along these lines, “If you know of anyone else looking to plan a trip, please give them my name and number. I’d love to help!”
Be confident in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!