It is key to keep track of your referrals. We all hold a lot of value in the referrals we give out and we want to keep track of those that we completed. Every year we though away tons of money in our referral data and if the number was out in the open, many would gasp at its size.
Thats why we but a two parter for you on the importance of tracking your referrals. Lets dive into it!
Customer reviews and recommendations are an integral part of growing your business or service. Over the past few years, reputation marketing has become a cornerstone to business development. Just as most companies now target their audience by consumer research, most consumers, or potential clients, do their own research by investigating who they are hiring for the services they need. Positive recommendations have a powerful impression just as negative comments can undermine a business. According to INVESP, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative comments.
Like most web-based platforms, there is a level of uncertainty placed in what is said online. With companies now paying for positive reviews, social media ‘likes’, and bot-generating profiles and/or comments there is rarely a full level of assurance. Hidden behind online reviews is another, possibly more, powerful source for reputation marketing and lead generation: referrals. When a current, or former client, recommends you, or your business, to a colleague, business associate, friend, family member, or acquaintance they are coming to you from a trusted source with confidence that you’ll give them the same level of service they experienced. They already believe, to some extent, that you are trustworthy because someone they trust told them about their experience with you. Regardless of your industry, that trust is what makes referrals indispensable.
Centers of Influence
Centers of Influence, or COI, is a new business term using an old market strategy. Your COI’s are other business owners who provide services in similar industries that operate perpendicular to yours. When the two intersect, your COI’s become a network asset; increasing your credibility and business through testimonials, references, and word-of-mouth.
According to business coach, Stacey Brown Randall, centers of influences are a subset of people in your network who:
- Are familiar with the service or product you provide.
- Are in a related business that does not compete with yours.
- Have contact with clients who can use your service or product.
Using real estate as an example, the potential to engage with COIs is profound.
A real estate broker was contacted by a client in California who plans on moving to New York and needs a realtor. Thankfully, the broker has a family friend who is an agent in New York and refers them. The real estate agent in New York has an established list of referral sources; they suggest a real estate lawyer, a contractor for some renovations on their new home, a plumber for some minor upgrades, a house painter, and a moving company; this network is a part of a COI.
Within this COI, the real estate agent will often become a referral source for the related businesses. In addition, they provided a list of trustworthy providers to their client saving the new homeowners time which will likely result in additional referrals.
In short, COI’s are trusted businesses or service providers, in your network, that you refer and in turn, will likely refer you in the future.
A Measure of your Client Service
Client service is an important resource for business marketing analysis. Many marketing strategies rely on seeing how many visitors they have to a website, the target audience, the time of day they are most engaged, etc, and then based on that information, calculate a success rate for an adjusted marketing strategy. Measuring client service is not factored into that form of market analysis and is a crucial aspect to success.
Knowing who and how many clients are recommending your business is another form of market analysis and, oftentimes, more effective in rating the success of your company’s services. Recommendations, reviews, and referrals allow an open discussion giving you insight to the thoughts of your consumers which is unparalleled data.
Reviews welcome sincerity amongst clients and observation for the proprietor. If the experience is negative, you’ll be able to understand the circumstances to their substandard experience and adjust your service based on the situation. A positive review would indicate that your client service is authentic or, at the very least, progressing positively.
Recommendations or referrals offer certainty. When someone offers a referral to your business, each source is saying they experienced excellent customer service and they are confident in referring someone to you. Knowing who this client is allows you to build confidence in your client service and replicate the process.
Those who recommend your business, whether a client or Center of Influence, are your referral sources. It’s imperative to know who these networking treasures are and to stay connected with them. In today’s day and age, it is easy to get lost in personal endeavors; over time clients or colleagues may, unintentionally, forget you or your business’s name.
With mainstream social media being a source of connection, it may seem obvious to utilize this as a means to track referrals yet, anyone who has tried this tactic will find this to be an overwhelming task. While you may be able to stay connected, you will not be able to track who is referring you, or who you have referred, without an outside organizational tool.
So, how can you connect and keep track of referrals?
Nu-Op! We created a digital marketplace for professionals to build relationships while keeping track of referral sources allowing you to stay connected while strengthening your relationship; keeping the experience fresh in their mind. In addition, we help develop your network and ensure affiliation which, subsequently, enhances someone’s ability to recall you, or your business, when asked for a referral.
In addition, knowing who is referring to you and staying connected allows you to thank someone when they do recommend your services. A simple thank you can go a long way; it shows appreciation which further builds upon a relationship. This is not only good manners but it is also good business.
Forming the right, professional relationships can elevate your career. However, even though we live in a world where it is easy to stay connected, many find it a challenge to build their network.
Nu-Op offers the solution; with our Platform, you will be able to connect and exchange referrals with other professionals to help you succeed in reputation marketing by strengthening your relationships with your Center of Influences, clients, & business owners.