Referral Systems Are Pure Small Business Marketing Magic


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How would you like to increase your business 1300% in less than a month while spending next to nothing? I spoke to one of my clients today to check in on a marketing strategy I gave to him - and he had multiplied his business 13X. Is he psyched? Of course, and now he has the problem of figuring out how to deal with expanding his business. We should all have such problems.

Wanna know how he did it?

My client owns a small martial arts school. He just started a kids program and enrollment is ok. I helped him set up a referral system. Less than a month later his kids program has increased 13X. On top of that, some of the parents that are bringing their kids have signed up for the adult classes. The net gain is actually above 1300%. He now has to add extra classes and expand his space to accomodate the business.

I can't think of too many small businesses that couldn't benefit from a referral system. I am working on another one with one of my clients who owns an auto garage. I am putting one in place for my own coaching pracice. I love referral systems because they are one of the least expensive ways to gain new customers.

What makes a referral system a system is that it's . . . well . . . systematic. It encompasses steps that you repeat - when x happens I do y. It's something you do as a rule, you set your referral system up as a policy. And it is easily trackable.

What makes a good referral sysytem?

Your customers know that you expect referrals. You don't want to pressure your customers to refer, but they should know that's how you're building your business. Some people don't give referrals simply because they don't think about it.

Reward for referrals. Give your customers thanks for referrals and you will increase the number of times they refer. This may be the only part of the system that costs anything. You may be able to reward clients in a way that costs nothing too. My martial arts instructor client runs a contest and whoever gives the most referrals in a month wins a prize.

Make it very easy for referrals to do business with you. Maybe referrals get a discount the first time they buy from you, or they get a free trial. Giving out referral coupons with the referrers name on them is a great way to track and reward referrals.

You must provide amazing service. People are not going to refer their friends if you aren't stellar at what you do. It's unfortunate how many businesses don't get that great service is so unbelievably important to their success.

Look for ways to build your own referral system. Be creative but avoid being pushy.

J D Moore - Marketing Comet
Small Business Marketing Coach


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