1. Referrals always begin with providing your current customers with prompt, reliable, quality service. They�ll be happy to spread the word on your behalf�often without you having to ask.
2. Ask your current customers if they know of any colleagues who are looking for the kind of service you provide. Follow up with a call or letter to those businesses. Make sure you get your customer�s permission to cite them as a referral source.
3. If a customer compliments you on your work, ask them to put it in writing for use as a testimonial in your marketing materials. Again, make sure you have their permission to use their name for that purpose.
4. Always acknowledge a customer�s referral with a thank-you note or phone call. If you send a card, consider including a coupon to popular restaurant or discount on a future purchase.
5. Many retail and service businesses lend themselves well to formal referral incentive programs with cash, gifts, or discounts. Make sure these �rewards� fit in your budget, and that you have clear rules and guidelines (e.g., only one referral reward per customer during a defined period).
Brought to you by SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business."