June 30th, 2011
How many of your last 5 jobs came by way of referral? Whether it was a friend of a friend, or someone who knows someone, your new business most likely comes in large part from referrals. If this is your strongest way of getting new leads, then you should be spending most of your marketing time and dollars on your referral program. Are you? Most photographers’ business comes largely from word of mouth. Therefore it is vital to your business that you create a great experience that gets people talking about you voluntarily. John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine , says “no one wants to talk about a boring business.” Does this describe you? Are you a boring business? What are you doing for your clients that gets them talking and creates a buzz around your business? First of all, you need to have some sort of referral plan in place. It needs to be something that you can get really excited about and is cost effective. A good example would be to provide some type of benefit that your current customer receives when they refer you to one of their friends, and also an incentive for the friend to call you. This could be anything from a $50 credit to a 16 x 20. You could also partner with other businesses and offer one of their products, like credit at a salon, etc. The more excited about the program that you are, the easier it will be for you to share it.
Once your program is in place, then focus on creating some excitement or buzz around the experience that your clients have with you. This experience can be a mix of your unique photography, your amazing products items, or even the delivery and packaging of your products. Are you doing the unexpected, going the extra mile and over delivering on all of your promises? This not only gets your clients talking about you, but it also builds loyalty and sets you apart from the competition. But why not take it a step further and provide a little surprise for your clients early on in the relationship? Maybe a small and simple personalized gift, or stunning marketing materials that walk your clients through your process, or even a box of cookies? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
These little touches, along with excellent communication, help to create an experience that people are not just satisfied with, but are thrilled with, and that is what gets them talking. Add in your fabulous referral plan and you have a successful combination for tapping into one of the best resources you have - referrals. If you’d like to read more about referral programs be sure to check out The Referral Engine by John Jantsch, Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, and of course swing by Photo Business Tools for some more wisdom from the Amys. Let us know if you have any questions about referrals, or some referral tips of your own by writing the Rad Nation! on Facebook and Twitter .