Did you know that 92 percent of consumers trust referrals from people in their network? Or how about the fact that more than 70 percent of consumers consider word-of-mouth critical to their buying decision? What about the thought that nearly 80 percent of B2B marketers note that their referral program generates good or better leads?

With statistics like these, it’s easy to see that referral business can drive serious growth.

But here’s the million dollar question on everyone’s mind: what’s the best way to generate more referral business this year?

While there’s no right or wrong answer, it all starts with building strong customer relationships. In order to do this, there are some steps you need to take:

  1. Establish Trust

If a customer trusts you, they’re more likely to refer your company to people in their network. Conversely, if they don’t get that “warm and fuzzy” feeling when working together, they may think twice before handing out your name.

Trust isn’t something you build overnight. It typically takes many months or years of providing high quality service to build trust that results in referral business.

But here’s the good thing: when you run your business the right way – with a focus on customer service – trust will come.

  1. Give and You’ll Get

You don’t want to be the type of business professional who is always taking and asking for more. Not only does it put people off, but you’ll never get what you want in return with this approach.

Here’s something to remember: if you want to get more referral business, give more referral business. When you send customers to people in your network, they’re more inclined to return the favor when the opportunity arises.

Don’t take, take, take. Instead, give, give, and give some more. It’ll pay off in the long run.

  1. Take Care of Your Customers

There are many ways to do this, including but not limited to:

  • Providing industry-leading customer service
  • Offering discounts and free products/services when possible
  • Going above and beyond to make things right if there’s a problem

When you take care of your customers, they know they can rely on you for anything and everything. It’s that type of relationship that gives them the confidence needed to provide referrals.

In other words, if you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of you.

Final Thoughts

If you want to generate more referral business in 2020, do your part in forming strong customer relationships. This can be as simple as taking one or more of the steps above. As you gain traction, you’ll notice more referrals coming through the door.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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