How to Generate Customer Referrals for your Business

The call center software solutions providers in India have modernized the way companies interact with its customers. While it has made conversations hassle-free and cost-effective, it has still not been able to reduce the reservations associated with “telemarketing calls” in the minds of the buyers. The majority of the times individuals do not entertain any calls from the inside sales team because they do not wish to purchase products from organizations they know nothing about.

While the agents are able to find the contact information of the leads by integrating the outbound calling solution with the major vendors in the market, many-a-times they are not able to convince them to stay on a call and continue the interaction. A simple answer to this problem could be the word-of-mouth publicity of the brand by the clients.

Consumer referrals are one of the most important ways of getting more purchasers in the database and growing the business. It is a known fact that tele-selling calls can be tedious and the callers involved in the process undergo a lot of stress in order to convince the purchasers to interact.

More than often the potential clients do not want to speak to the executives because they think the product to be a promotional gimmick and do not trust the brand. However, when the corporation approaches the consumer from a trusted source, the chances of a positive outcome are higher.

However, the majority of the times, the existing customers will not give away references easily. This is not because they do not wish well for your business, but because they do not want to endanger their own relationship with their friends and family by recommending a product or an organization that is not worth their time and money.

Another reason could be because recommendations are only a favor on the part of the clients. It is a chore that can be easily avoided. They are not under any obligation to help the company. Unless you provide them with a specific motive, there is no reason why they are going to think about your organization in the busy moments of their life.

However, this does not imply that you will get no references for your business. Given below are few tips that will not only help you improve the rate of recommendation but will also help you to remain in the good books of your clients.

1. Set up a Customer Referral Program

• Getting recommendations from the consumers is not an easy task. They do not occur automatically. It requires strategic planning. While some references ‘just happen by chance’, this is not the case always. Many businesses are under the impression that exceptional customer service will help them in getting more leads. While this can be true sometimes, more than often the company has to invest some time and come up with a plan in order to get more buyers on board.

• The process starts with finding the target audience for the product. Not all the referrals can be apt for the organization. A deep understanding of the ideal buyer persona will make it easier for you to not only spot the right consumers but will also make it simpler to describe the perfect prospects to the referrers.

• There are many companies who also build recommendations in the agreement. This implies that if the customer is satisfied with the services of the business, he will help the organization in getting more leads. Asking the consumer to sign a referral agreement with the company even before doing any work for the customer may sound immature and inappropriate. However, on the contrary, this approach helps in building the trust of the clients.

• When you start working new purchasers or are on the verge of closing the deal, introduce the referral scheme and mention about the agreement. You can simply ask if they agree to give you recommendations in case they are completely satisfied with the work of the company. However, this does not imply that the proposals have to be supplied then and now. This can happen in the later stages when the buyer is sure about the organization and has had a good consumer experience.

• Creating an agreement right in the initial days of interaction not only makes you put your best foot forward but also gives you a chance to impress the purchasers with your dedication and drive. This will also ensure that the consumer has the opportunity to collaborate and experience your performance before they can vouch for you. However, it is essential that you frame the request in the right way; otherwise, there are chances that you might jeopardize an otherwise healthy relationship.

• Example: A fitness center uses the outbound call center software in order to get in touch the potential leads. During the course of the interaction, the agents are advised to ask the prospects about the reference agreement. The callers usually approach this in a very careful and subtle way. “Leena, in case our gym meets or exceeds at least 75 percent of the desired goals within the first three months of your association with our business, would you mind, helping us by referring few qualified leads?”

2. Ask for Reference

• Instead of shying away from talking about referrals, explore how you can do it gracefully. Many organizations think that it is an intimidating task and can put the customer in a difficult spot. However, unless you make an effort and remind the customer that references can be a healthy way for the growth of the business, there is no way that they are going to think about recommending your name in their social circles. Hence, it is imperative that you take the first step.

• Asking for a shout-out from the customer is a privilege that you have earned by giving them exceptional services. Many individuals assume that asking for a referral can be pushy. However, the way you ask and the timing plays a huge role in it. Be professional and confident while asking for it.

• If you ask for a recommendation right after closing the deal, the customer is going to get upset. He is going to think that he was a way of getting more income for the company and is not valued. Hence, it is important that you make him feel special and only then broach the topic of proposing your name to their known ones.

• The timing also depends on the type of business that you have. If you deal with merchandise through which the clients can realize the benefits in a small time frame, it is better to ask for a recommendation in the first few days after the purchase is made. However, if you have products that show the advantages after a considerable amount of time, it is advisable to wait.

• Make sure that your website, brochures and other marketing material carry your statement of referral. Make sure that you have their e-mail Ids stored in the database of the telemarketing CRM software and ask for a referral when you contact them for a follow-up. You can also use the resolution of complaints as a perfect opportunity to get a recommendation.

• For example, if you have helped a consumer by resolving his problem at the earliest, you can send him a small message, stating, “At our company, we value customer experience at the paramount level. Satisfied clients are important to us. We wonder if you know of anyone in your circles who can benefit from the level of the services that we provide.”

• It is not necessary that the buyer agrees to be a reference partner in the first instance that you ask. Often, the purchasers start looking at you from the recommendation angle only when you ask for it. They will take some time to come to a decision.

• While it is advisable not to ask the clients for referral every time that you contact them, it is essential that you remember to ask them at frequent intervals. The periodicity can depend on the nature of the business, the referral plan as well as on how often you see the consumers. Include the dates in your interaction calendar. Buy Telemarketing Software that generates alerts for this.

• Do not sound demanding when asking for a heads-up on other customers. More than often, the managers do not lay enough emphasis on the referral conversations and, as a result, the agents are not trained well to ask in the right way. Remember, referrals are the most credible way to generate leads. Stay polite and give them little details about who your ideal prospects are.

• Something like, “Do you know anyone who will be interested in buying the same products as you” is more likely to generate negative results when compared to something like, “We hope we have given you an enriching experience. Now that you have known our company and our products for a long time, could you suggest anyone who can benefit from our services?”

3. Provide Valuable Support

• The primary rule of getting more business for the organization is to make the current customers happy. Unless the present buyers are not satisfied with the products of the corporation, there is no way that they are going to help you promote yourself within their circle of friends and family. They will recommend you only when you offer them some valuable and efficient services.

• The process of getting a referral begins right from the first interaction and hence the agents must ensure that the conversation is smooth and interesting for the buyers. From the way the callers behaved on call to the way their complaints were handled, the consumers remember everything about the corporation. Hence, efforts must be made to build a healthy relationship between both the parties.

• Adding value and offering amazing services is what lays the foundation for word-of-mouth publicity. Even the most systematically planned referral system will not deliver results unless and until you provide the buyers with an exceptional experience. References do not come with the generosity of the consumers. The company has to earn them and the only way that it can be done is to provide them with support and valued services.

• Give them a reason to speak about your business. Elements like listening to the customers uninterrupted, providing them faster resolution, sticking to the deadlines, polite conversations, skilled workforce, exceptional productions and quick complaint handling play a role in determining if you get a reference or not. Invest in the best call center software as this can help you in making the interactions hassle free and can help you achieve a positive consumer experience.

4. Use Social Media

• These days, with the advent of social networking platforms you no longer have to sit back and wait for the customer to show interest in your referral scheme. Rather than asking for references blindly, many companies are approaching the prospects by looking at their social media profiles.

• LinkedIn, for example, is becoming a powerful tool in order to get in touch with probable buyers. The Advanced People Search Feature allows you to look up for connections that your clients can introduce you to. In this, you can filter the search depending upon the industry, keywords, location etc. You can get introduced or connect to them easily. This is more useful for professional and business referrals.

• Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics are other methods of looking out for your potential purchasers. Make sure that the call center telemarketing software is integrated with all the majority platforms so that you do not miss a prospect or a mention.

5. Incentives

• The best referral programs are the one that benefits both the parties. These are the kind of the programs that the customer is most likely to notice and participate. Unless there is something for the buyers in it, they are not going to pay any interest to your referral scheme. Thus, it is essential that you entice your consumers to share your brand in their social circles. The only way to do so is to reward them or give them the due recognition.

• When you show your prospects that you appreciate them taking extra steps in providing you with more leads, you are in a way ensuring that they continue providing you with support. The majority of the times, the consumers are more likely to give away the contact information of their friends and relatives when they know that they are going to get something in return.

• Simple correspondence via e-mail, call or social media shout-outs can be an easy way to recognize their efforts. However, more than often, the individuals are expecting monetary rewards in exchange. Something like a discount on future purchases, gift cards or hard cash are some of the famous ways of showing your appreciation.

• Try and test the different methods and choose the one that best fits the needs of your business. However, remember that references are a part of the sale cycle. Hence, choose a method that is simple, inexpensive and relevant to the size of the referrals.

• It goes without saying that whatever kind of reward you choose for your customers; do not forget to thank them. This is a simple way of nurturing your relationship with the referee. You may never know, but he may give your reference again considering your good behavior and services.

• Keep the track of who referred whom and how the deal took place using the call center software for sale. Keep them informed about the progress. The appreciation should be unconditional. Even if the referral was not closed as a deal, thank the referrer for the recommendation. However, in case the deal was successful, sending them a thank you note shows that you remember the efforts of the purchaser and they will feel good about being a part of your success.

6. Build Credibility and Develop a Bond

• The customers will vouch for your company only when they trust you enough. This will happen only when you build a lifetime bond with the purchasers. Word-of-mouth publicity is a personally added responsibility and hence the credibility of the business plays a huge role while introducing the company to the customer’s social circles.

• Gaining the confidence of the buyers takes time but it is worth the effort. This is often the first step in getting references as none of your target audience will refer you unless you win them over completely. Remember to include the certification of the corporation on the official website. This ensures that your organization is not bogus and is present in the market to provide valuable services.

• Stay active on social media as this is where the majority of the interactions take place. These days, the clients keep a close check on the profiles of the company in order to gauge the efficiency and performance.

• Share the success stories of your business on your social networking profiles, official webpage, forums as well as blogs. Telling anecdotes of how your services helped a certain customer strengthens the confidence of the purchasers in you as a brand. These stories often remind the purchasers of others they know who might like to avail the services provided by you.

7. Educate the Customers

• The most common mistake that the agents make while in reference programs is that they believe that the consumers know it all. However, this is not the truth always. Many buyers would be happy to recommend you but they do not know who your targeted customers are or how they can recommend you. More than often, they do not have sufficient knowledge of how they can present you or your services in their social circles.

• Make sure your purchasers understand the products and services of your company. Only when they have clarity on what you do, will they be able to think of who can be of help to you. It is also vital that you point the key characteristics of your ideal prospects. You cannot expect the clients to know what you are looking for.

• When the customers buy your stuff, they do not really think about who else can benefit from your company. So, as a result, when you ask them for reference, they can be blank. To clear this hurdle, stimulate the imagination of the purchaser by giving him subtle hints about who can fit the bill.

• Frame your requests in such a manner that their mind starts focusing on the individuals that match the profile of your buyer persona. This streamlines the process and makes it simpler for the buyers to look out for people who can match your criteria instead of looking at the whole universe.

• References do not mean that the clients have to give you the contact information of individuals they think might be interested. Reviews are a kind of publicity too. Ask them to rate the company on the official webpage or famous review sites. You can also ask them to share their experience on their networking platforms so that their friends can know about the organization.

• With the advent of the online tools, the majority of the companies ask the buyers to give their feedback and refer them in case they feel that the products were up-to the mark. It is also vital that you equip your consumers with material that they can share in their social circles. When they have great information to share in the form of articles and blogs, there are greater chances of them spreading the word.

• Do not make the reference process a hard task. Put the links to referral or review sites in all your channels of communication. From your business cards to the blogs and e-mail newsletter, remember to highlight the reference scheme. Also, pin it on your social media profiles.

• Have a referral link on the website. Adding it to the main navigation ensures that the customers do not miss out on it. Also, allow the option to share it directly on the networking platforms. There are any companies which pre-populate the message for Twitter and Facebook so that it can be shared without any trouble. Make sure that the outbound calling software is linked to these pages so that you can easily see when a message is posted with tags of your company or when there is a reply posted on any of them.

Referrals are a powerful selling tool. When done in the right way, recommendations can fuel business expansion. Focus on the ideal clients. Do not wait for the sales pipeline to dry up and tap into the networks in a proactive manner. Incorporate these elements in the marketing strategy and this will put you on the pedestal of growth.

People readily trust a brand and make quick purchasing decisions when they see that their peers have done the same. The key for a reference is to out-do the clients expectations and provide him with services that compel them to bring your brand to their social circle.

However, referrals alone cannot take you far. It is also important that you consider how to refine your offerings and become more popular in order to gain the trust of the consumers. This can only happen when you have exceptional products, a skilled workforce and use effective tools including the best cloud-based call center software.