When a client sends you new business, this is known as a referral. A referral is the best way to get new clients as it came from a trusted source and someone that has already done business with you. A referral is the biggest compliment you can get from a client.
However, most often you may find your clients are not referring people to you, not even your best clients. The question is why aren't they? The most common reason for not getting referrals is simply because people don't ask for them.
To get referrals you must be proactive in getting them. Asking is the simplest way to get a referral. However, most people are either too embarrassed to ask, not comfortable with asking, or too busy to ask so they abandon the thought all together.
Some beauty techs, just hope their great services will make their clients refer someone. Looking for referrals in this manner will give you referrals but they will be sporatic, unpredictable and you may find yourself going months without getting referrals.
Your clients and people you do business with are your best source for new business. They can actually send you a steady stream of new business every month if you set it up so they can.
To get referrals consistently you must include getting referrals as part of your marketing plan. In this post I will show you how to get a constant flow of referrals coming in by creating a referral system.
First Lets take a look at a few examples of referral programs you can implement into your business:
1. Thank you cards. Send your clients a Thank You card a day or so after you service them. Thank them for their business and end with saying if they know of anyone looking for a nail technician to please give them a card. Include 2-3 of your business cards in the Thank You card.
To sweetened this deal, include a voucher for your client inside that perhaps give them a free gift when they return to you, or a coupon off to a complimentary service like a massage or hair salon.
2. Referral Cards. Give your clients a referral card. On this card you may offer a free mini makeover or a free mini manicure. Let your client know when ever someone comes in that they have referred, they will receive XYZ for doing so.
3. Partner up. Partner up with someone (or business) that offers a great complimentary service that you provide like a massage therapist, spa, hair salon..etc. Give them some referrals cards or coupons. Ask that they they give one to each of their clients and in turn you will do the same. This way the 2 of you can refer business to each other and it cost you nothing. It's win-win!
4. Do a Survey. You should always check to see if your clients are satisfied and happy with your work, policies, customer service etc. Send them a survey to find out how they like the service. End it by saying we/I appreciate referrals. If you know of anyone looking for a great nail salon please let us know. Simply fill in their information below, bring with you on your next appointment and we'll give them a call. Just to say thank you we'll give you 50% off your next service when they come in and make a purchase!
5. Bring a Friend Day. Have your clients bring a friend in for a special friend day "mini" manicure. Plan this for one of your "slower" days of the week. Be creative with your friend day, you want to "wow" them so they come back.
6. Holiday Gift Cards. Around the holidays make gift cards for your clients to give out to their friends. Make the cards tie into whatever holiday it is, Valentines Day, Xmas, Sweetest Day...etc... The card can give a free mini service or a % off services. People are always looking for cool gifts to give away on these days.
7. Ask. Ask your clients if they know of anyone just like themselves that would like to have the same beauty services. Give your client a flier that outlines your referral program. Advise them you will give them XYZ for every person that they refer.
This list represents examples of different referral programs you can implement into your business to bring in new clients.
Now Lets Create a "System" for Getting a Constant Flow of Referrals using These Programs......
To effectively run these programs you need a system or plan of action. Having a referral program does you no good if you are not using it. You will need to sit down and create a strategy that you will implement for getting referrals consistently. You do this by creating a referral system that your business will use daily, monthly, yearly as routine practice. Something that most businesses are not doing.
For instance Your Referral System can look like this:
Every Wednesday is Bring a Friend day between the hours of 12 & 3.
Every Holiday the Gift Referrals Cards go out
Every 90 Days the Survey goes out to New Customers
Work with John at Massage Town USA to exchange referrals Monthly
Everyday Aim to get 1-3 referrals per day ( include staff)
This is a more systematic approach to getting referrals. It's much more stable than the "wait and see if my client will refer someone to me" approach. With a referral system in place you are actively "seeking" referrals and will get them because you are asking, requesting them and putting systems in place to get them.
Lets take Referral Program #3 from our list of referral programs above. Instead of partnering with 1 business, you can partner up with 3, 4, 5 even 10 different businesses that you can get to send you referrals. Thus doubling the amount of referrals you can get monthly from this 1 program alone. Now add this into your referral system. You are now setting your self up with even more avenues to get a lot of referrals.
Getting referrals is a marketing strategy that you will need to work, to get it to work for you!
Another strategy to get folks referring people to you is to refer people to them. Are any of your clients massage therapist, personal trainers, chiropractors why not refer them business as well. You can also let them know about great restaurants, great places to take kids, and the such. Recommend and refer things that are beneficial to them. So when you ask for a referral , they will be more than happy as you are always referring and giving them good tips!Work with your Best Clients
If you have clients that come regularly and have been with you for a while. Ask them for referrals. Tell them you are looking for more clients just like them that's looking for the same kind beauty services. By letting your client know what kind of referrals you want, they know who to send to you. Thus giving you referrals that are going to be great long term clients.Offer incentives
To get people motivated to send you new business offer incentives like a free gift, discount, free service of some sort. You will need to decides what works best for you and what you think your clientele may like.
Be careful as to what you give away. You don't want to give away more than you are receiving or your risk not making a profit from all those referrals.Make it Easy for Your Client to Refer You
Your clients are busy folks too dealing with everyday life happenings. So make it almost effortless for them to refer you by providing them with referrals cards, fliers or something they can give to the person they are referring.
Make it even easier to refer you by word of mouth by providing top notch customer service they can "brag" on. Your client should feel that when they refer someone to you, that person is going to be delighted and grateful to have been sent to you.Thank You
Thank everyone that send you a referral, call them and follow up with a hand written Thank you card. This is a must if you want to continue to receive referrals. You must make your "refer-er" feel appreciated. When they feel you appreciate them sending you clients, they will send you more.Keep Your client in the "Loop"
When your client refers someone to you, follow up when them and let them know how it went. Sometimes, it's nice to let your client know what happened with the referral so they are not left to wonder.In conclusion
Getting referrals is all about planning and creating a system for getting them. Use these tips to help you get more referrals than you can handle every time!
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