Recommendations and positive feedback from trusted sources are some of the most powerful tools I encourage as a business coach when it comes to growing a successful business.
Would you buy a new car without doing the research and reading the customer reviews? Probably not. Chances are, your customers follow the same principles.
Research and feedback are key factors in the buying process.
Referrals and testimonials can also be looked at as hot leads. The groundwork has been laid and a positive reputation has been established. Now it is up to you to follow through and live up to the hype.
Customers, vendors and business associates can all provide these valuable assets. When a transaction goes particularly well, cash in on it by requesting a testimonial for marketing purposes.
Encouraging referrals should be an ongoing practice and I encourage that as a business coach. Incorporate these strategies into your business plan and ensure that employees at all levels are engaging in the practice as well, in order to provide a well-rounded portfolio of feedback.
Make the referral process as easy as possible, simultaneously demonstrating that you value your customers’ time.
Provide clients and vendors with the tools to refer you without even thinking about it. Setting up displays of brochures or passing out additional business cards helps make the process seamless.
Reciprocation is necessary in fostering long term and fruitful referrals. Avoid a ‘trade deficit’ which can dry up the well of opportunity fast.
A simple thanks will always go a long way. When you receive a new client based on a referral make sure you show your appreciation.
Endorsements can come in several different forms these days. Consider what works best with your business goals. Video endorsements are a great way to create more interactive feedback opportunities but be careful not to come across too scripted.
As a business coaching tip, when writing up feedback or testimonials, consider employing a copywriter to assist- their expertise can help translate the right message in print.
The moral here is that people want to do business with other people and business that they know and trust. That trust is transferable. It must be treated as a valuable commodity and addressed with as much consideration as any other aspect of a sound business plan.