1.Quality service. Referrals always begin with providingyour current customers with prompt, reliable, quality service. They’ll be happyto spread the word on your behalf – often without you having to ask.
2.Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your current customersif they know of any colleagues who are looking for the kind of service youprovide. Follow up with a phone call or letter to those businesses. Make sureyou get your customer’s permission to cite them as a referral source.
3.Testimonials. If a customer compliments you on yourwork, ask them to put it in writing for use as a testimonial in your marketingmaterials. Again, make sure you have their permission to use their name forthat purpose.
4.Say thank you. Always acknowledge a customer’sreferral with a thank-you note or phone call. If you send a card, considerincluding a coupon to a popular restaurant or a discount on a future purchase.
5.Incentive schemes. Many retail and servicebusinesses lend themselves well to formal referral incentive programmes withcash, gifts or discounts. Make sure these “rewards” fit in your budget, andthat you have clear rules and guidelines (for example, only one referral rewardper customer during a defined period).