One of the very powerful ways to gain clients or customers for your business is through referrals.
You see, many of us go on social media to gauge the success of people’s businesses. If the person is here in our faces daily, then business must be booming, but if they slide into the shadows, it’s a cause for concern and worth investigating.
Well, narratives may differ, but an interesting conversation that I had with a friend led me to share this post. He asked me why I was quiet on a course that I run for business folks. I’d stopped talking about the course for a while because I’d wanted to finish my journey with the current crop of participants who had been referred to me by other participants of the course.
Referrals happen when you either elicit them or the satisfied client is so happy about the outcome of the experience that he grabs a microphone and begins to shout it from the mountain top.
I ask for referrals and I’m so unashamed to do so. I’ve met some folks who tell me that asking for referrals may mean that their work isn’t good enough to the point that the client doesn’t get excited like a student on prom night to share about it.
Well, I beg to differ. You see, people are quite busy in their lives and if you don’t employ the urgency of the moment when the deal has just ended, you may delay their sharing about it. So, I elicit it, instead.
Secondly, it can be an erroneous assumption to think that because someone enjoyed your services, they would share it to another.
Let me ask. How many times have you told your friend about the toothpaste you use or the seller in the market who sold salt to you or the sugar you use for your tea? How many times have you referred a friend to the supermarket where you bought your shaving cream or the store you bought your TV?
Do the calculation and you’ll find out that of all the many things you’ve enjoyed in your life, you’ve probably spoken about less than 10%.
So, how do I elicit referrals?
When I do live meetings or classes with participants, I ask them to share at intervals during the meeting. This means that they can take pictures while I’m teaching and share. They can be hit by an epiphany while I’m teaching and they instantly share it with their friends. At the end of the meeting and before they disperse, I ask them to spare a minute or two to share their thoughts as honestly as they can on their timelines. If I allow them to go home, doing so may be pushed to the background when other life’s pursuits grab hold of their attention.
Even if they wish to craft something awesome, you can ask them to share one liners like “Such an amazing time I spent with Emeka Nobis today” accompanied by a selfie with you to go with the post. When they get home, they can now craft whatever embellished post they deem fit to craft.
During my 21-Day Social Media Mastery course, I deliberately insert testimony days on the 7th day, 14th day, and last day. Participants share their experiences. Most importantly, they insert a CTA (Call To Action) to their friends to join them on the remarkable journey that they’re experiencing.
Because I know I’m dealing with minds, there may be objections that crop in their minds as to how they can properly write and share the testimonials. For that I already have a solution – a tweakable template that they can plug in and utilise. By doing so, I knock off that objection.
So, make sure you knock yourself out of the park to deliver exceptional service. You can’t be asking for referrals when your service is scrappy.
It’s when you ask for it and the client is so hesitant to share it. Dig in your heels, give the client a WOW! experience and then be bold enough to ask. After all, great work ought to be shared, not so? You bet!
At this point, you may be asking : If I haven’t done any job before for any client, how can I use the power of social, technical or factual proofs?
Just one proof may be enough. How do you get that?
Go do work for free, if the costs aren’t that high. Work on one client till he or she gets results and your proof is established.
If you’re a photographer, go shoot a wedding for free. If you can clamp down an influential person and shoot his occasion for free, do so. Use that as a baseline.
If you’re a coach, work with a client for free till he or she gets results that brings a transformation. Such transformation which often leads to an embrace of new beliefs can be so powerful that he or she trumpets your work.
If you’re a consultant, work with a small enterprise for free. Help them achieve results – cut down waste by 50% or raise productivity by 70%. That becomes your resume for showcasing.
If you’re a trainer, gather your target audience for free and train. I do this deliberately in cities that I visit. You don’t need to spend so much on venues. Use a friend’s house, hire seats at $0.13 per seat, and bring 20-30 people to train. If you can’t get a photographer, use your smartphone to record and take pictures. That creates a resume of achievement.
On Saturday, 17th June, I spent time with 30 people in a meeting in Lagos that lasted 4 hours. Before coming to Lagos, I’d put out two posts about meeting with 30 people who were willing to grow their enterprises. It was for a token of $8.
$8 you may say? Ah, for a brand like Emeka Nobis? My group live trainings start at $40. My personal coaching experiences start at $395. So, why $8?
I had an objective. I could have equally done it for free, but the essence was to have people experience me at a minimal financial investment which they may call a risk.
I created a Whatsapp group for the deliberations. As soon as I put the message out, a few folks who had tasted my offerings joined the group. Immediately the first person paid, I quickly beeped him and asked him to share on his timeline that he had paid and ask his friends to join him. I gave him a suitable template to tweak and share. I did so for 5 of them who paid in the first two days of setting up the group. Consequently, the group swelled internally through the efforts of those already within without the need for my pushing it further.
Amazingly, quite a few paid for their friends. I’d not seen more than half of the class in my life before. It was an opportunity to meet with them. I brought my A-game, even though it was a semi-free experience. As to whether I won clients from the meeting, your guess is as good as …. (fill the blanks)
Whatever industry you’re in, there may be something you can do to establish trust and proof and then begin to attract the clients you need to grow your business.