Digital Marketing

How to Get Useful High-Quality Leads from Your Customers

Looking for new leads isn’t every business owner’s favorite task. It’s time-consuming, and some people are just uncomfortable cold-calling, following up with strangers, and networking in general. All of those are issues you should try to overcome, but we’ll talk about strategies to help you meet that particular goal another day.

In the meantime, let’s get back to the point: leads. You have one thing in common with every other business owner you meet – you all have current and past customers, and both can be an incredible source of referrals if you use them right.

The Pitfalls of Asking for Leads

Unfortunately, that’s also where most businesses get it wrong. It’s really common for marketers to either ask for leads in the wrong way or avoid asking all together, assuming if someone wants to provide a referral they’ll take action on their own.

That’s a problem. Sure, your customers will likely refer people to you out of a sheer desire to help (you or them) once in a while, but most just don’t ever think of it. The second their exchange with you ends, they forget you exist.

So here’s where the quandary exists. You want to remind your customers to make referrals, but you also don’t want to make them feel forced or pushed, nor do you want to appear desperate. Here’s a few strategies for getting it right.

Expectations and Referral Programs

Start by creating a formal referral program for your business. Build it into your processes, giving it the most visibility at times when customers are the most pleased, rather than just asking every customer for a review. Hell hath no fury like a customer asked to refer their friends right after you manage to frustrate them into leaving.

Instead of focusing on the referrals, focus on your service. Customers who have a great experience are more likely to share your value with others. But it’s about so much more than just being “good;” you need to exceed their expectations every single time. Optimize, tweak, and improve until you get it right.

Once you’re sure your service is on point, it’s time to focus on creating loyalty and inspiring growth within your referral program. Clients who receive good customer service will remain loyal to you over time. Loyalty translates out into a willingness to refer their peers.

Define Your Ideal Customer

Spend some time determining who your ideal client really is. Do they work in a certain niche or have a certain revenue value? Do they have a unique need you can fulfill? If you can answer these and other demographic-specific questions, you’ll be able to find the unique motivators that drive people to refer in the first place. This makes it easier for you to target the people you ask for leads and referrals.

Review Your Existing Client Base

Who are your best customers? Make a list of the clients or customers you find easy to work with, even when times are tough. Depending on the nature of your business, this list could be as short as a few people or hundreds of thousands of individuals long. It’s all valuable!

Remember: like minds tend to stick together. Friends of your best customers usually have similar shopping styles, interaction styles, and personalities. If you ask an ideal client for a referral, you will probably receive a lead that meets your ideal customer criteria.

Ask for Social Media Reviews

Social sharing is great for exposure, but soliciting reviews is quickly becoming a grey-area tactic. While it used to be recommended that you offer a client a discount or reward for leaving reviews on certain platforms, this practice could now do more harm than good based on changing review platform rules. For example, Amazon is now actively banning companies who pay people, either through cash or products, to create “glowing reviews.”

However, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a different story. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to share positive thoughts. Ask your clients to be social in their sharing. Have them post  photo on Facebook or Instagram with a short blurb about their experiences. Make sure you ask them to make the post public and to tag you and/or your business in the description.

Take Advantage of Positive Opportunities

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to ask for referrals. The best time to ask for a lead is directly after you really please someone, land a new account, or generally experience significant success. People with recent positive experiences or outcomes are more likely to feel happy and motivated – more motivated than someone who is feeling neutral or upset over a loss.

You can create your own opportunities for positive feedback. Try using SurveyMonkey to send the occasional customer feedback survey to your clients. Ask them for their feedback and really pay attention to what they have to say. If a customer chooses to leave a name and gives you glowing remarks, take the time to thank them and ask if they know anyone else you could help. You might even ask a direct survey question about whether or not the client is likely to offer a referral.

Utilize Your Content Marketing Strategies

Your content marketing strategies are critical. They play an enormous role in helping you to land  clients, especially within the online sphere. You continue to create great content to distribute via your email list, but are you encouraging your readers to share your content with others? Adding a simple prompt encouraging your customers to share with a friend will grow your email list so you can nurture them as new leads.

Don’t Forget to Make Referrals

Giving referrals to others shows you are invested in their success. Take a look at your own clients and determine whether or not you know anyone who could use their services. Showing you value and trust their business enough to offer a lead will make a memorable impact. When they come across someone who needs the service you have to offer, they’ll probably return the favor.

Offer Incentives

No matter what type of business you run, offering incentives for referrals shows gratitude and tells your audience you aren’t just asking for something for nothing. The key is to make sure you are offering something your client really wants. It might be as simple as a $5 gift card to a coffee shop or as complex as a free year of service after so many referrals. Whichever approach you use, just ensure it has value in their eyes.

Here’s a tip: give the incentive for the referral alone, regardless of whether or not you close the sale. The sale of your product or service is your responsibility; it isn’t fair to try and put it on customers in exchange for a lead. In fact, that’s exactly why some multi-level marketing companies get such a bad rep. Make sure your clients know you appreciate the efforts they’ve made on your behalf – full-stop, without asking for more.

It takes a lot of time and effort to run a business. Leveraging your existing relationships to create new leads is one of the smartest time-saving, streamlining strategies in prospecting. What your customers say about you speaks volumes about how they feel about you and how well you’re doing. Capitalize on the opportunities presented and use them to grow your business.

Growing your business isn’t easy, but I believe SEO is still one of the best ways to succeed in today’s complicated online world. From technical SEO to content, I’m always available if you need a hand. Reach out and connect here.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

By Eric Sachs

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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