By Megan Miranda
We all make New Year’s Resolutions that are personally unrealistic, like losing that last 10 lbs. or finishing that undone house project. For years, I vowed to stop being late, which I honestly still haven’t completely achieved.
One attainable resolution that you can certainly keep is to get more referrals in 2016!
Get your current clients to refer you at the year’s end with simple incentives. Gifts and cards ensure you’ll receive more referrals next year than you did in 2015. Read on to find out how!
Give Them Something to Talk About
Word of mouth is the best kind of referral, because those on the receiving end of the reference already know about you and have potentially already decided to work with you, regardless of your price.
Even so, make sure those talking about you have something great to say. Provide excellent customer service, go above and beyond whenever possible, and use only the best products.
When people are especially pleased, they are more eager to share their experiences; but the same is also true for clients who feel slighted. People ask friends for referrals when they have been disappointed by other service providers. You want to be the wedding pro people talk up, not complain about.
Anyone can Google “wedding DJs in Tahoe” or “best makeup artist in Portland” and find plenty of professionals who fit the bill. Discerning brides will hesitate to hire these wedding pros because they are complete strangers. By eliminating uncertainties, you stand out from the crowd.
Remind current clients that you are dependable and thoughtful by sending a holiday card or offering year-end wedding tips.
Make things easier on new clients by putting as much information possible on your website. You don’t have to disclose prices, but the more you can say, the more credible you appear to potential clients.
Be Clear and Specific
Don’t leave it up to your current clients to decide how they should refer you to friends. Will they simply keep your name in mind, email every single friend or tell one co-worker? Merely asking for a referral post-wedding doesn’t give brides any direction.
Have a process in place like sending a follow up email with a referral template or asking clients to fill out a referral form on your website.
Better yet, send a short email before you deliver your products and services. Explain that you intend to make their wedding wonderful, and that you rely on word of mouth referrals.
Offer a Deal
Reward couples who share your name and contact information with friends and family and they are more likely to do so.
Send out an email this holiday season with incentives such as discounts, freebies or coupon codes for those who provide referrals. Even people who never give referrals will share your name when you offer free goods and services!
If you can’t — or don’t want to — give away freebies or offer discounts, get creative. Name your best reference “Client of the Month” in your holiday newsletter or give her a shout-out on social media. People love getting attention and being praised for their work.
Make It Easy on Yourself
Track your referrals on paper or keep them in order in a spreadsheet.
Automate your reminders with calendar notifications so you never forget to contact a current client. When you get the notification, send a personalized thank you note and check off the bride on your spreadsheet.
Don’t Overdo It
While I do suggest going above and beyond, I do not recommend being saccharine-sweet or phony with your clients.
Find ways to be helpful to the couple — and other involved wedding professionals — with your positive attitude and desire to please. When you are accommodating, you build trust and a good relationship, which will undoubtedly lead to glowing referrals in the new year!
How do you get referrals?
Megan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.