According to a recent Accenture study, a whopping 60 percent of Americans say leads for real estate referrals from friends and family have the greatest influence on their purchasing decisions. Just what is it about these word-of-mouth recommendations that make them so powerful? Trust. People trust the opinions of others, especially friends and family. It’s human nature.
But you could have guessed that. What you really want to know is: How can you get more of these all-powerful referrals rolling your way. Marketing experts advise the following:
- Do great work. Deliver outstanding service and products, and your customers will recommend you to their friends and family. Works every time.
- Ask. Even among people who say they’d be willing to recommend a company, a recent study showed only 26 percent of them actually tend do so. In other words, if you want people to refer your company, you have to ask and encourage them to do it.
- Build your brand. To get referrals, you have to make it easy for people to remember your name. That’s where branding comes into play. Emphasize the same “brand differentiators” (catchy tagline, attractive logo, striking color scheme and unique selling points) on all your marketing materials, and the ability of your target audience to recall your company name at a moment’s notice will just keep building with time.
- Market your business consistently. A regular, ongoing marketing program builds familiarity, familiarity builds trust, and trusted businesses get more referrals.
A few ideas to get you started
Ready to put those concepts into action? Start with these ideas:
Offer a reward – The best way to get anyone to do anything is to offer them something in return. Consider offering anyone who refers a potential customer your way a $20 gas card, two tickets to the movies, a massage or some other generous thank you.
Hold a contest – Contests are a great way to offer an even bigger, more exciting referral reward without going bust in the process:
- Consider creating a simple drawing (where the grand prize is a trip, a TV, or some other big-ticket item). For every referral provided, each person gets entered in the drawing.
- Even better, follow the lead of the Precious Beginnings Resale Shop. They let anyone give their friends and family special store-discount coupons, then reward the person who distributes the most. Everyone benefits. See their website for all the details.
Ask nicely – Not everyone needs to be rewarded, of course. Some people will be happy to tell their friends and family about your business if you simply remind them how important it is. Consider launching an integrated marketing effort (direct mail, email and social media) featuring a message something like this:
“Without referrals from our customers, neighbors and friends, we wouldn’t be where we are today. So please, if you know someone who might be interested in what we have to offer, encourage them to give us a call. Tell them to mention your name, and I’ll personally see to it that they’re given the gold-star treatment.”
Make it easy to remember your name – Offer your target market free, branded premiums (flashlights, pens, calendars and other sought-after everyday items) and they’ll always have your contact information close at hand when someone asks for a recommendation. If they have to hunt for the information, they may never get around to it.
None of these ideas cost much to implement (another benefit of referral marketing), but the payoff can be huge if you make them part of your long-term marketing plans.