Making The Referral Marketing Machine Work

I was at my dentist’s recently for my regular teeth cleaning and was again amazed at how well-run her office is. Whenever I walk in I am quickly greeted by friendly and helpful staff.
Their contact management system has the detail they need to know why I’m there and what is going on so they never appear confused or unknowledgeable about why I’m there. The hygienist herself picks me up from the waiting area and escorts me back to the work area. She is thorough, professional and pleasant. She makes my next appointment right there at her workstation. When she is done she escorts me back to the reception desk and hands me off personally to the receptionist making sure to transfer whatever information is necessary so there are no misunderstandings. She also gives me a gift baggie each time with a new brush, toothpaste, dental floss & a number of coupons.

My dentist’s doorhanger card

In with the coupons this time was a referral card. A referral-based business is the holy grail for businesses, especially a professional operation like a doctor’s, lawyer’s or financial advisor’s. Many owners rely on passive referrals, people who like their service enough to recommend them to their friends and family. But taking advantage of the goodwill with customers by asking them is much better and, contrary to what is often assumed, it actually enhances the the customer relationship.

So, just ask customers to refer their friends and family to your business. Many businesses already have a rewards program. How about a referral rewards program? My dentist’s program has a progressive for referring one, two or three friends. When you consider the cost of customer acquisition to bring in a new customer, paying out $10 for a warm lead is worth it. And a small reward is just as effective as a large one.

Her program is simple, easily understood and gives progressively higher rewards for bringing in more customers. The rewards should appeal to most people as well.

Try a program like this and see if you can increase the number of referrals to your business.

Larry Earnhart
The Alchemist Professors
March 28, 2014
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