This week we are discussing inexpensive ways to increase sales. Yesterday’s post was about networking and how to rethink your networking strategy. Today, we’re discussing how to foster those relationships. If referrals are an important part of your sales plan, you must actively invest your time to nurture the source of those referrals.
How do you thank the people that refer you business? Do you hand write them a note? To me, this is a minimum requirement. But why not take it a step further?
Make it public
A public acknowledgment of a vendor who passes business to you is a great way to give them a loud shout-out. This gives them a little exposure in a public forum while showing others that you value referrals. You can do this by posting something on your blog, or sending out a tweet on Twitter.
Non-contingent Thank Yous
Thank yous should be made to referrers regardless of whether the prospect ultimately does business with you or not. You should show appreciation regardless of the end result. It’s important to acknowledge a person’s thoughtfulness regardless of sale or no-sale. This appreciation will result in continued referrals… and those referrals are bound to pan out.
Send a little something-something
I’m a stationery designer, so when someone refers business to mmm… paper I like to send some little paper goodie. It’s a low cost way of saying, “I really and truly appreciate your good word about my business.”
Return the favor
If someone is good at referring you business, you should return the favor. Sometimes, the match between client and referral doesn’t make itself immediately available. But, remember to keep that person in mind. They’ll appreciate the favor! If the relationship of referral only goes one way, it is much like unrequited love and that love will soon fade.
Spend some time with them
If someone refers a lot of business to you, and you don’t feel that you’ve had an opportunity to return the favor, maybe you don’t know that person well enough. Take the time to take them out to coffee and find out more about them. Ask them how you can help their business.
Have a vendor and client appreciation event
This takes a little more financial investment (not the least costly of the “inexpensive ideas” of this week)… but for a few hundred dollars you can put together some bites and sips to say thank you to those that appreciate your business. An open house at your office can be a great opportunity to thank vendors and clients who have referred business to you and it can be a great opportunity to share with them a little more about your business. And, if you’re like me, wine and cheese is an easy way to my heart!
How do YOU show the love?
I’d love to know how YOU foster your relationships with other wedding vendors and clients. How do you show appreciation for referred business? (Post a comment below!)