There are millions of people looking to find high-quality, trustworthy financial professionals. Chances are, you probably aren’t the only one in town, so potential clients need help breaking through the clutter to find your business. While there are multiple channels that play important roles in marketing your business, The New York Times reports that 65% of new business comes from referrals. So, how can you use referrals to generate new clients? Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Make it fun!
Hosting events is a great way to ignite your referral program, and they also demonstrate your appreciation of current clients. When hosting regular events, encourage attendees to bring a friend — this can expose you to a larger audience.
Here are a few ideas to kick off your first referral event:
- Client appreciation referral dinners
- Hold a 5K walk/run dedicated to your favorite charity
- Host a cook-out and screen a movie at your local park
2. Turn reviews and testimonials into digital referrals.*
Word-of-mouth travels fast and can travel an infinite distance. According to a recent survey by Zendesk and Dimensional Research, 88% of respondents reported being influenced by an online customer service review. Submitting reviews online is a fast and simple way for clients to get involved. The following are three tools your clients can use to help generate buzz about your business.
- Yelp – Yelp is one of the most popular social networks for submitting business reviews and currently averages 138 million unique visitors each month. Nielsen reported that 82% of users visit Yelp with the intent to purchase from a local business.
- Facebook – Enable the five-star system on your Facebook page, and allow users to rate and review their experiences.
- Google+ Local – Google is a great way to ensure that everyone searching for your business will see your reviews. Asking clients to submit reviews through Google ensures they are easily accessible by those searching for your business that may not have Facebook or Yelp accounts.
Note: This section should only apply to the insurance side of your practice, as the SEC prohibits testimonials and endorsements of any kind. Please contact your compliance department with any questions.
3. Think of your website as your No. 1 referral.
When you research new services (think auto repair, for example), how do you begin? You may ask a friend for input, but most will take to the web. A report from Nielsen found that 68% of consumers rely on searching the internet when looking for new products and/or services. In some cases, your home page will be the first impression you make. When deciding how to represent yourself online, keep the following questions in mind:
- Is it visually pleasing?
- Are services clearly listed?
- Is the website an accurate representation of the brand?
- Are credentials visible?
4. Provide a unique experience.
Providing the same services does not equal providing the same experience. Are you making your clients feel comfortable? This can be taken both figuratively and literally — make sure clients are comfortable in your office, as well as with the services you are providing them. Sending a birthday card may seem like an insignificant detail, but it shows that you care about your clients. When customers have great experiences, they don’t just stick around, they also can become your biggest advocates!
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