Nora Roberts said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” referrals are an essential part of every business. Not only do they help build customer relationships, but they also bring in new customers. As Nora said, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO. However, knowing how to ask, and the right question to ask is of paramount importance if you need a great result.
One of the reasons why referrals have proved to be a reliable marketing strategy is because it is cost-effective and easy to incorporate in any business. Referrals have been known to spill in more results, compared to traditional ads. It is because potential customers are more likely to act on a review or recommendation from a friend than a stranger on TV.
You might be using this strategy but seeing discouraging results. If that is the case, you will be guided in this article on how to ask the right question and maximize your conversion.
Reach Out To The Right People
Before you kick off by creating an awesome looking email template, you need first to understand that the right people will make a huge difference. You might reach out to a massive list, or perhaps a few loyal customers. Whichever one you are going for; you need to be deliberate about who you ask.
Before you approach any of your customers for referrals, you should first know their record, feedback, and their opinion about the goods and services you offer. If the customer is happy with what you provide, they are more likely to provide you with quality recommendations to their friends and family. If you are running an online business, you might reach out to customers who spend the most in the last couple of months. Perhaps, those who spend the most time on your site.
One of the common mistakes businesses and individuals make is running into random strangers or doubtful customers for referrals. It doesn’t work like that, and results from such an attempt are always imperfect. But with a happy customer who is satisfied, you don’t even have to ask in most cases. They become promoters.
Hit Them At The Right Time
Timing is everything and can determine how a customer reacts to a request. You know your demography better than anyone. When are they usually free?
When is the best time to invite them to your referral program? One of the essential ingredients of a referral program is to get as many people as possible to join. Not forgetting, making it easy for them, without it looking like a chore.
However, when you hit them up at the wrong time, you might end up losing your customers in the process. That would be a nightmare. Remember, the best time is when they are happy. With this knowledge, you can move a mountain. Asking the right question and at the right time is all you need to succeed.
Word Of Mouth Referral Example
A look at Apple and how they utilize their sales method to pull in tons of referrals. Well, it is not magic. Do it right and get it right.
When Apple does a keynote, they entice customers with their features and benefits. They go the extra mile to review the price, and it would be available for preorder or purchase. In this case, word of mouth is a very vital tool used.
Whether you are a SaaS, b2b, eCommerce, b2c, it would be great if you explore this option.
You are probably taking regular product updates strategies by posting on your business blog. Although that isn’t a bad idea, you can entice customers more.
Each product you release is a way to create customer loyalty and increase referrals. For a grand entry, you can run a campaign and provide customers with a sneak peek. Some other referrals strategies include:
“share if you like this product.”
“One time deal for our loyal customers.”
However, the most common and effective strategy is usually, “refer three friends and get this product for free.”
If you can discover how your customers can benefit from your product or services, you won’t struggle to get referrals.
Learning The Art Of Asking Questions
Asking the right question increases the odds of conversion and referrals. But the wrong question can be disastrous. When it comes to asking the right question, you have two paths.
Either you end up asking a close-ended or open-ended question. As you already know, the result will never be the same. Close-minded questions can quickly be answered with either “yes” or “no,” while an open-ended question compels your customer to give a more than a one-word answer.
As you might have guessed, open-ended questions spew the best result in referral programs. The advantage is that you can use their detailed response to obtain more information and also, help them agree to something. If you believe that your customers are likely to answer yes to a question, an open-ended question is a way to go.
Using The Closed-Ended Question To Your Advantage
Here are some examples of close-ended questions you might have heard before. By knowing how to use these questions effectively, you increase your chances of getting the response you desire. Here are some of the examples;
- Did I provide an excellent service for you today? – Before you use this close-ended question, you might want to remind them what you must have helped them with.
- Is there anything else I can help you with? – Often, these questions come at the end of the conversation and serve as a conclusion.
- Know any friend who might want to save 30% as you did? – It serves as a reminder about what they benefit and might compel them to refer their friends and everyone they know.
Close-ended questions are great. Your customers don’t need to battle an eyelid before answering. In most of the cases, the responses are always honest and on point.
Examples Of Open-Ended Questions
- What were the reasons for choosing our products/services? – This question is very significant and tends to find out the reason why they want your product over millions of others in the market.
- How was your experience without customer service? – This question tries to measure your competency and customer service as a business. If their response was negative, it means more work for you. If they are positive, that is a great sign.
- What is the most crucial feature of our product/service? – This tends to discover the edges your product or services have. They are like attraction points. When discovered, it helps you work more to deliver.
- How would you describe your experience with our service/product? – You are giving your customers the chance to provide a review. If their expertise weren’t great, they would make that known with reasons. It will help you work more, to be better.
- What prompted you to buy our products in the first place? - Asking this question will reveal how effective your marketing strategy is, proving that you should stick to such and if possible, improve.
- What are the things you think we did better than our competitors? – This question tends to reveal what differentiates you from your competitors. Although this question might prove to be a little difficult, an honest question always has a reason.
What is the proper time for the referral program? – An ideal time for a referral is immediately after a sale, mainly during the holidays and special offers. This I when you will find the best response.
Best practice when asking for a referral
To get the best from asking the right questions, you need a guide. Without the proper practice, you won’t get the desired result even if you asked the right question at the right time. Here are a few best practices that would increase your conversation rate when asking for referrals.
- Let it be conservational and personable – One of the huge turn-off as long as customers are concerned is a robotic voice. Try as much as you can to avoid sounding robotic and be conversational. If your open-ended question must yield results, you must learn to project your persona as a person.
- Suggest solutions – There is always this urge to ask your customers as many questions as possible. However, learning to listen can be a vital strategy. Listen to them, make them feel welcomed, and provide possible solutions to their problem.
- Take action – as Nora said, you will never get what you want if you don’t ask. Provide them with a benefit and ask them to refer their friends. You have to sound as honest as possible.
- Support them – There are times when you or your business will have to step in and offer support. People don’t want to do things. Even if they wish to, they will keep procrastinating. Sometimes, it is because they can’t help themselves. In that case, be ready always to help.
How To Ask For A Referral
There are many mediums you can utilize to ask for referrals. Lots and lots of them. However, you will have to explore all the options and then stick to one or two that spills in the most result.
Not only should you know those mediums, but you should also know how to navigate them for a remarkable achievement. In this section, you will learn how.
Asking for referrals through an email
It is common for companies or businesses to send follow up emails to customers. It could be a thank you mail; it could also be notification of newsletters. Whatever emails you send to your client can be tweaked a little, to pull in referrals.
At the end of the mail, you can add a few sentences asking them to refer a friend. Maybe you can use a more direct approach, by sending a mail specifically for the referral program.
Asking through a phone call
Just like emails, you can make follow-up calls to your customers, and in the end, chip in about your referral program. This approach is very significant if the customer is already satisfied. Apart from chipping in about your referral program toward the end of the call, you can make a call specifically for the referral program.
A loyal customer would always jump at the offer.
Social media post
We are in the era of social media and judging by its potential, measuring results can be confusing. Millions of people are on social media, and most are your potential customers. Using social media to campaign for your referral program can spill in lots of fantastic results.
On the other hand, if you use software to run this program, customers would be able to join whenever its best for them.
Using business cards
Here is a professional way that you can use to gain referral through your loyal customers. By giving your loyal customers a business card, you open tons of possibilities. Since this is a mutually beneficial program, it is bound to spill in a fantastic result.
Popups and slides
If you handle a website, that can be a huge funnel to gain referrals. There are numerous plugins or software that you can use to integrate a popup, urging visitors to join and learn.
You can use conventional mediums as a tool for your referral programs. It can include newspapers, magazines, TV adverts, radio FMs, posters, word of mouth, etc. the more people know of your referral program and its impressive benefits.
They won’t mind delving in immediately without a thought. Learning how to ask questions, the right questions to ask, and the appropriate medium to use is key to a successful referral program.
It isn’t rocket science, nor do you have to break the bank. Once you discover the strategy that works best, you will no doubt be wowed at how cost-effective and easy it is. However, try as much as you can to be sincere. The ‘ask’ has to be as genuine as possible for a great result.