I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation trying to help a business owner grow their business and they say, “we get 80% of our business by referral,” reluctant to think that a marketing/sales guy could help them.
Then I ask a series of questions that leaves them jaw dropped. How are you enrolling clients in your company? Your vision? As a referring partner? The silence is usually deafening as they get immediate clarity in what I am talking about. They spend a lot of time and money to acquire a relationship and they don’t make it a big deal.
Here are some ways you can really enroll your clients in your company. Do this and watch you referring business double!
1. 5 Things That Make Us Different:
Create a list of important differences in you and your competition. Make them understand how they should take advantage of those differences and why it is important to them. It helps them de-commoditize you from your competition. They will know why to spend their money with you rather than your competitors.
2. Paint the Vision:
Give them a clear vision of what the next three months will look like as your client. Walk them through how you will learn to serve them better and their role in that process. Let them know what you will need from them in order to do your job as well as you can. Talk about your ultimate goals for the relationship, i.e. “earn the right to clean all their buildings”, “grow their pipeline by 30%”, “help them open three new stores in the next three months”, etc. Get to a common shared goal that you can use to rally their and your efforts behind.
3. New Products, Other Services and Innovations:
It is so important to take the time to make sure your clients understand all the services you provide, the products you have rolled out in the last couple of years and the new services and innovations that keep you on the cutting edge. Most companies I work with that do this see a double digit increase in their dollar per client. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked to customers who said, “I didn’t know you guys did that”.
4. Philosophy and Commitments:
Philosophies are what bring businesses together. It is so important to write yours down and share them with your customers. Get it down to your standard and commitments you have and the ones you expect from your clients. My commitment has always been to be a 5 to 1 return on investment as a consultant. I have always been in a place where I could create that for my clients because my plan and goals reflect it. You could have the commitment to be transparent in pricing as a goal to create a partnership feel vs. a vendor. Whatever you feel is important in your client relationships should go down on paper.
If you have one you should make sure you go through it with your client. Get them to fully understand it so they will become a mouth piece for you on this level. Get them to understand it, market it and promote it as one of your differentiators.
6. Philanthropic and Community Activities:
This is a huge part of your business and what you are about beyond making money. Sharing how your company is a viable productive part of society as a whole can be a great differentiator. Businesses are just organizations of people with common goals. They want to be a part of things that are bigger than themselves. Showing how you are engaged in your community is a great way to illustrate that voting with their dollars for you is a very good move for the community at large.
7. Founders and your People:
Market your people like they are running for office. People want to believe they are buying the best. Show them with employee bios, backgrounds and resumes how great your people are. Tell the story of your people and your business. They will be enthralled in it and love to share it for free.
8. How you Grow:
Tell them how you grow. Walk them through the ways you acquired your best clients. Tell them the stories of the referrals and the introductions that led to best and biggest deals in the company’s history. Tell them that you regularly ask your clients for referrals and your official policy is By Referral Only. They will love that you need them that much more and that they can help you grow and see how much you value them as a client.