It is important that every new business creates a plan to build customer referrals. This plan must be written about at length in the Company's business plan. At Masterplans, when we write your business plan, we make sure to include all pertinent information that bankers will look for in regards to gaining referrals in that business plan.
So, what are the best ways to build customer referrals? The answer, in its simplest form, is networking. For this reason, think about the influential people you know in your field that can help you gain referrals. Let us know what those people are willing to do to help you gain referrals, so Masterplans can list that information in your business plan. Remember, your business plan is the main document that will be used to procure a loan, so its comprehensiveness may directly correlate to the amount of funding you receive.
When you make your customer referral plan, remember that good customer service may not translate into customers referring you to their friends and acquaintances. Of course, good customer service is vital to your company's success, but people are much more willing to talk to their friends and neighbors about bad experiences than good. It's human nature. This is why good customer service is vital to your company's success, but not a reliable source of getting customer referrals. However, word-of-mouth can be a source of referrals, if utilized properly. When your business is up-and-running, make sure to take any job, big or small, and whenever possible, build a relationship with the customer. The business owner who cultivates relationships with customers and clients is well on his way to earning those customer referrals. Offer incentives to customers who refer business to new customers, and if a referral does come in, build a relationship with that client as well.
People who have a relationship with you, whether business or personal, can be a great source of referrals, but they typically have untapped potential. For this reason, you should coach anyone you can on the proper way to find new customers for your business. Make sure your family, friends, and clients know that you not only appreciate their business, you also appreciate their referrals.
Remember that when it comes to networking, it is important to emphasize quality over quantity. 1000 acquaintances will not generate the same amount of referrals as 10 close friends, because your acquaintances do not have much of an interest in seeing you succeed. Therefore, keep your networking field small, but deep. Build meaningful relationships rather than cursory ones, and your business will find you.