Client referrals are a hugely powerful channel for new business, and yet many sales teams aren’t utilising this strategy for getting new, quality leads. Most of us know we need to be winning referrals via a structured client referral program, but may not yet be dedicating sufficient time to it. After all, if you aren’t really sure of the ins and outs, then it’s just another thing for the ‘to do’ list.
The fact is, you absolutely cannot ignore referrals if you are serious about building sales leads. Equally, your team need to be on board to help develop and embed a formal referral scheme to get the most benefits from it.
Why is a Client Referral Program So Important?
Client referrals are absolute gold dust in terms of quality leads. This is particularly the case in B2B businesses, where recommendations are extremely important. Referred clients also give you the chance to enjoy a higher ROI than any other marketing or sales channel, something that will make most sales directors immediately sit up and take notice.
Sales Staff… That Don’t Even Need to be on Your Payroll
Get your process right and your existing customers will start to pass on glowing recommendations about your business to fresh prospects. They are essentially doing the hard work for you and strengthening your sales process as a direct result. Referrals can even lead to direct conversions too, depending on the sector and industry in which you operate.
Getting the Right Scheme in Place
You need a structured, considered program in place to make the most of your customer referrals. The right scheme will give you leads that convert to business, clients that keep working with you and profitable sales. But you’ll need to put the effort in. Your sales team will need to work hard to secure these holy grail referrals, using a roadmap that helps them through the process.
The Big Benefits
You’ll immediately see some powerful benefits to getting it right. In a nutshell, the right referral scheme will:
• Have your best customers acting as cheerleaders for your business, essentially enhancing your own sales team without extending the payroll
• Make it simple for your customers to refer by giving them examples, tools and resources in a referrer’s toolkit
• Provide customers with a meaningful incentive which makes them keen to refer
• Gives you a fast way to find new clients that are effectively pre-screened by their referrer and likely to be a good fit for your business
• Enhance loyalty and brand engagement
• Grow personal introductions into your business so that you can build your network and sphere of brand influence, creating awareness of your offer in the process
Stats You Can’t Ignore
This list of potential wins has probably now got you chomping at the bit to get going. Let’s make it even more compelling by reviewing some of the stats. Software Advice found that:
• 78% of marketers say referral marketing produces “good” or “excellent” leads
• 60% of marketers said that referral marketing produced high quantity leads
• 52% of those surveyed said that referral marketing has a low cost per lead, only bettered by non-paid social, and in-house email marketing across all channels
For those businesses that had a client referral program, Influitive discovered:
• 69% reported reduced time to close sales
• 50% regarded their organisation’s sales activities as highly effective, compared with just 35% of those without referral programs in place
• 51% rated their organisation’s effectiveness at maintaining the sales pipeline as very effective vs. just 32% of those without referral programs
• 87% reported highly effective sales efforts vs. 42% without referral programs
And yet, only a third of B2B companies are reaping the benefits with their own client referral program. Can you imagine missing out on such a huge potential win? What if your competitors get there before you and sweep away the potential sales leads from under your nose, simply by being hotter off the mark? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
So don’t miss out on that huge untapped pool of potential sales opportunities – take action now.
For more on building a client referral program, download our free e-guide, The Sales Director’s Guide to Winning Referrals!