The sign and strength of a great company can often be determined by the number of referrals that it gets from its customers.
However, there are many companies out there that are great but don’t get the number of referrals that they would like or that they deserve. The reason behind this can come down to one simple assumption: assuming that all referrers are built the same.
There seems to me that there are 3 types of people when it comes to referrals:
- Those that when you please them they are happy to refer you without you even asking – The vocal few
- Those that are happy and loyal but struggle with the idea of referring you onto to someone as they don’t want to seem pushy or are nervous about the relationship that they would think you would like them to refer you onto – The ‘you’re killing me with your silence’ bunch; and
- Those that although they may be happy with what you have done for them or provided them they just won’t refer you. It’s just not how they are built – The ‘we don’t get it’ crew
Segmenting your customers into these groups can help you understand how you can evolve that relationship. Here’s some suggestions for each group that should help with the flow of referrals in your business:
- The vocal few – make sure you keep doing what you are doing, keep innovating, keep surprising them and they will continue to love you and refer you.
- The ‘you’re killing me with your silence’ bunch – if they are nervous about referring you onto their customers or their professional colleagues then, perhaps, a different tack may be a better approach. How about you ask them to consider introducing you to their suppliers (where appropriate) as often people have very different (and less precious) sets of relationships with their suppliers than they do with their customers.
- The ‘we don’t get it’ crew – refer them to your clients and contacts, keep giving them gifts of extra product or service or just plain old gifts and explain that you are doing it because you value their custom and want to build your community and network. That way you are betting that in the end they will start to ‘get it’ that they do start to refer you to their network.
I would suggest that most companies have a distribution of customers that could refer them that goes a little something like this:
- The vocal few – 10% of your customers
- The ‘you’re killing me with your silence’ bunch – 60% of your customers
- The ‘we don’t get it’ crew – 30% of your customers
If this distribution is right then it shows that every business has huge growth potential in tapping into its customer base.
Does this distribution sound like your business?
Thanks to cbcastro for the image.