Leads have always been linked to more revenue. And for good reason. Even if you have the best product in the world, your business will hit the rocks faster than you can say “business” if no one knows about it beyond advertising.
A lead is a person or company that has shown interest in a service or product that your business provides. Lead generation in marketing as defined by Wikipedia has to do with initiating consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a company.
Generating leads is one thing, but making good use of them is an entirely different narrative.
Referrals and leads aren’t the same things. While leads are individuals or businesses that are interested in what your company is offering, referrals are potential customers that have already been introduced to your business by satisfied customers or advocates. For referrals to happen, your leads must have been engaging with your product or service offerings and must have been impressed enough to make a case for you to other people, thereby advocating for your business and making these other people potential customers.
This is why referrals are just as necessary as leads: marketing teams are continually generating leads, but referrals have been proven to convert up to ten times more than leads from parent businesses or other sources (including advertising). The reason is that referrals have already received trusted introduction to your business by satisfied customers, resulting in a quicker sales cycle. In summary, referrals and leads have to work synergistically for a business to thrive.
Referrals among other benefits also grow your satisfied customer base because when a satisfied customer reaches out to someone and the person eventually becomes a happy customer, the cycle keeps self-perpetuating and results in more satisfied customers referring more people to your business.
Also, according to research from Wharton and Goethe University, referred customers are more loyal and have a 16 percent higher lifetime value than regular ones.
To acquire these connections, however, your business must first of all offer something of significant value. Then think about devoting time and passion to guarantee optimal output, because the easiest way to encourage solid referrals for your company is to ensure that your current clients and customers notice how committed you are to what you do. This will make them feel like they are in the right hands when working with you.
Indirect word of mouth marketing does the best referrals; they are also the most powerful means as well as most cost-effective. All that is needed to keep the referrals going is to continue guaranteeing satisfaction to happy customers so that they continue to feel compelled to share their delightful experience to other people.
Follow these tips to know how to get the best leads and what to do when you get them.
Be Devoted to Adding Value
For you to keep adding value, you must invest yourself in your business, and investing yourself means spending time and lots of effort into developing strong, successful relationships. This means you must always consider the benefits of working with you from the POV of your customers or potential clients. For you to create value, you must figure out their needs and wants. Only when you do this can you be able to satisfy them. Customers can be tough to please; some might even demand certainty of consistency in delivery before they decide to pay. This translates to a certain level of risk input. However, that will not be a problem when your business can deliver, because once you do, you build trust in the long run and prove that the risky investment was worth it.
Provide Top Notch Customer Service
A lot of businesses have an average to above-average customer service level. And that’s fine. So long as customers are attended to with a polite smile whenever they have questions or complaints, they are OK. But if you need to truly make a mark, you’re going to have to do more than that. Imagine a situation where customers are telling stories about how you went the extra mile to help them out, that’s what you should aim for. Study your customers beyond business and do things other companies won’t care enough to do. For example, sending staff with to visit with a birthday gift, attending their events to show support, working extra time so that your customer can beat a deadline even though they brought you the work late.
You’ll have happier leads, and they’ll tell other people about you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Flaunt Your Best Sources of Referral
Use your best customers—your most impressed—ones to refer your business. Of course, you have to, first of all, get their consent to proceed with this strategy, but it works. Feature them (or their comments at least) and on your website, in your brochures and in marketing media. The trick is simple: focus the spotlight on them and let them redirect it to you.
Connect with People You Know
An efficient network based on real-world connections and healthy relationships will make sure people vouch for you with more sincerity. It is essential to use the people closest to you as your first line of marketing as they are the ones likely to care about your business the most. Satisfy them first, and watch your referrals multiply.
Never Underestimate the Power of Networking
As crucial as generating leads and converting them to referrals are, you also need to look for more avenues to get your brand out there. Networking used to be difficult and made possible by guild memberships, but now social media has made it so much simpler. Online platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium help make even more people know about your brand. You can establish valuable long-term connections by just being active on these media and engaging in relevant conversations.
Deliver Impressive Work
Having passion, dedication and superior customer service are all critical to attracting customers. But ultimately, what will keep them and make them your true ambassadors is how well you can meet their demands and needs. Quality work is not only about service rendered or product sold, but also through how much you appreciate the customers. Do a great job, and do a bit extra; reward them with flexible options, offer small discounts, be honest and listen to them no matter what, and you are guaranteed a love story not typical of many businesses.
Also, be sure to always keep to your word. Treat your customers as you would love to be treated. The best way to let your customers know that you respect them is to be sincere with them−it’s great for credibility. Instead of just treating a customer as just another job to be attended to, provide high quality, genuine and consistent service to them. So long as you make promises and keep to them, you are assured of the most loyal customers anyone can find.
Ask Customers to Refer You
Of course, the key to all of the previous strategies for boosting referrals is asking customers for them. Research has shown that while a large percentage of satisfied clients are willing to refer others, only very few people ever do. Many people need to be asked to do something before they do it. Also, most other people feel good about helping others, if and when they know that they can. It never hurts to politely let a satisfied customer know that you appreciate them and would love it if they referred you.