Customer referral is the most valuable customer acquisition method that industrial sales experts can use. A customer referral -aka: client referral- is that one of your existing customers provides the name and contact information of a potential customer to you. This is an effective method because it’s human nature to trust information from familiar colleagues. As you know, confidence is a priceless advantage in a sales environment where the leads are prejudiced against sales experts.
First, evaluate the situation
Due to the complexity of B2B sales processes and the high cost of certain products, you must invest time and thought into designing your customer referral program’s strategy, structure, and internal processes.
Customers will refer to your product only if they have had an exceptional experience with both your goods and your company. Customer referral marketing is more effective for products that offer significant consumer benefits and effective assistance.
Prior to establishing a proper customer referral program, you should conduct a customer satisfaction survey for your product. Are your customers excited enough about your product to spread the word? Customer satisfaction survey quantifies your consumers’ proclivity to promote your goods to other potential buyers.
If survey results are not acceptable, you should definitely evaluate your customer retention strategy. In any case, you may want to strengthen your relations with your customers to get valuable recommendations.
Strengthen existing customer relationship
Before you even consider developing and marketing a B2B referral program, you must ensure that your clients want to refer you. That is why the first stage in constructing your B2B referral marketing program is to establish strong customer relationships.
Once a sales deal is closed, do not abandon the existing customer. Maintain contact with them to demonstrate your concern. For instance, once a recently acquired customer learns how to access your program, follow up frequently to ensure they comprehend how to fully utilize your product.
Be aware of your existing clients’ demands and be really helpful. This will immediately create a favorable impression of your firm among existing clients. When your existing clients are satisfied, you will have a better chance of presenting your customer referral program to them successfully.
How to benefit from customer referral?
So, how to benefit from the customer referral method? Start with making a list of your business associates or friends that may know the prospects you want to reach in your target industrial market. Of course, choose only reliable ones with an industry reputation.
Those associates might be your business colleagues, strategic partners, or existing customers. Then ask for referrals from them. Do not hesitate to ask your associate’s help. The best industrial sales experts admit that about half of their prospects come through referrals. To me, this is certainly right!
Once you have contact info, then what? My choice is to ask the referrer associate to make an introduction. This is a sophisticated way of starting a conversation with the referred potential customer.
Sometimes the referrer person prefers not to be involved on your behalf. It’s pretty normal; they might have personal causes. Providing a referral to you doesn’t mean they want to be in the subject. In this case, you start the communication on your own by gently referencing the referrer’s name.
A customer referral example
Let’s try to reach potential customers through a client referral. Suppose that you started your call or email just as the following example. That’s a winning opening phrase!
Hello, I’ve got your email address (or phone number) from Mr. Smith, the ABC Company’s procurement manager. Mr. Smith has been one of our best customers for a long time. We would be glad to provide our solutions for your problems and requirements.
When your potential customers hear/read those words, they will evaluate you thanks to your reference, even though they don’t know you and your company. Client referrals may be your biggest advantage if you can manage them right. Always keep in your mind that only satisfied customers may want to support you. So, how should you ask for customer referral?
How to ask customers for referrals?
Your most effective brand ambassadors are your satisfied customers. Receiving positive references from them can significantly increase the volume of quality prospects that come your way. According to a study conducted, 48% of B2B marketers believe that customer referrals are the most effective technique for generating leads.
Even better, clients who arrive via referrals are more likely to convert than those who arrive via other methods. Customer recommendations, in particular, generate a 4% conversion rate. In comparison, 1.5% of websites, and 1.4% of social media achieve this level of conversion.
Therefore, how can you develop and sustain a successful client referral strategy? Here are some helpful hints.
1. Make yourself recommendable
Before you begin soliciting B2B references from your clients, consider whether you truly deserve them. Are your previous and current clients satisfied with the service you provide? Consider your company through the eyes of a B2B customer and determine whether you would recommend your company and products to others.
If you’re not confident that your clients will suggest you, it’s time to make some changes. Customer happiness is prioritized through timely service delivery and superior customer service.
2. Request a customer referral
Many firms overlook this self-evident client referral technique. Simply asking your clients will reveal how many are willing to support you and are waiting for the right chance. According to a marketing study, 75% of pleased customers are extremely likely to suggest you.
Whether you contact them via email, your website, or in person, the most crucial factor is to keep your request basic and straightforward. Additionally, you must choose the appropriate time to ask for a customer referral. You are highly likely to receive a positive referral immediately following a successful transaction with a consumer. You can even do so during service delivery.
3. Make things as simple as possible for customers
The majority of your satisfied clients would gladly refer you; they simply don’t know how. Your job is to make things simple for them. For instance, provide them a form with direct questions they can answer. For instance, “Why us?” and “How do you rate us?” If the referral is made through your website, make it simple to find and complete, taking care not to request just so many personal information or lengthy responses.
4. Be reference to them
Consider returning some of the favors that your B2B customers have provided to you. If you know a customer who would benefit from their products, do not hesitate to suggest them.
5. Continue to remind them
Do not ask for recommendations just once and forget about it; it is critical to remind your customers to reference you on an ongoing basis. The simplest approach to accomplish this without annoying them is to incorporate the reminder within your newsletters or emails. Additionally, you can remind them every time you make a transaction.
By boosting the number of B2B referrals you receive from customers, you will be astonished at how dramatically and immediately your bottom line improves. Finally, never fail to express gratitude if you receive a referral.
Show your gratitude to your referrals
Never forget to thank your referrer business associates. Showing your gratitude is an essential matter of the customer referral method. What they have just provided you is priceless–a valuable potential customer acquired by client referral. Whether the potential customer converts to a paying customer or not, always show your appreciation for their support to you.
Conclusion for customer referral programs
If your customers are happy with your company, products, and you, they will be glad to help you for your efforts. This is how to establish customer referral programs that work. Just ask them for this favor. They can provide you excellent opportunities to discover the new potential customers you have not found or reached yet. Do you realize we come to the same issue all the time? Again and again, it’s all about customer happiness. If you make your customers happy, they will make you happy too.
Customer referral strategy boosts your business growth
Word-of-mouth marketing is a strategy that each business with meaningful items and a sizable client base should implement. While B2B referral programs present unique hurdles, your organization can develop a successful customer referral program by understanding and fixing these obstacles early on.
Collaborate with your sales staff to identify your top clients and establish a method for converting referred leads to revenue. Then, create a structure for the incentive program, an advancement strategy, and any automation requirements.
Now that you’re aware of the questions to ask when building a customer referral program, you’re now on your approach to establishing your referral program as a growth-oriented marketing pillar.