What do you think is the number one thing that gets you good referrals? This includes referrals from current and past clients, vendors, the general public, and beyond. The answer is more simple than you may realize. The number one reason for good referrals is quality products and services.
While that may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised by the number of B2B business owners who exude poor customer service, have low-quality products, and put little to no effort into marketing, but expect to build a successful referral marketing plan. Instead, offer exceptional customer service and products you stand strongly behind, and, in many ways, your products and services will do the heavy lifting for you in terms of how to build a successful B2B referral marketing strategy for 2018.
Do’s and Don’ts for Successful B2B Referral Marketing
There are tons of ways to build a truly successful B2B referral marketing strategy heading into the new year. There are also tons of ways in which you can ruin a good thing as well. Let’s start with a look at some of the major Do’s for a successful B2B referral marketing plan:
- If you don’t already have a social media presence, you need a strong one. These days, everyone is looking for their recommendations via social media. One simple post asking for thoughts on who to hire for a certain project or what company to purchase a product from will keep the comments flowing in. Get your B2B business involved in social media marketing and keep it updated regularly.
- Keep up with your vendor relationships. Believe it or not, you’re not the only stop on their route. They travel to many other B2B businesses, some of which could turn into potential clients for you. A little schmoozing never hurt anyone. The more your vendors like and respect you, the more likely they are to spread the word about what your business has to offer.
- Implement a customer referral program, rewarding your current customers for bringing in new clientele. This is such a simple way to get the word out there, and when you see the results, you’re going to wonder why you didn’t think of it earlier. It’s a practical maintenance free program. Simply let your current customers know that you’ll give them a reward — whether that be a gift or a discounted purchase — for every new customer they send in.
- Customers aren’t the only ones talking about you to other people. Treat your employees well, and they’ll pick up some of the referral handiwork as well. In the same way, you would reward your customers for bringing in new clients, you might consider a reward system for an employee referral program as well.
- Because it’s a technological world we live in, no successful referral marketing strategy would be complete without a strong online presence. You will definitely want to take your referral marketing strategies online and utilize outlets such as email marketing to reach a wider audience. These days, everyone is glued to their email. Take advantage of that. The same rewards you would offer current clients and/or employees for successful referrals could be used to entice new customers via email as well.
Just as there are many ways to be successful with referral marketing, there are also some ways to ruin it. These are just a few of the major Don’ts of successful B2B referral marketing:
- Don’t tell your customers/vendors/employees you’ll reward them for good referrals and then not follow through. A business is only as good as the word of the person running it. Dishonesty is the fastest way to send your B2B business south.
- Don’t bombard people with emails. This is a quick way to get marked as spam and sent to the place junk emails go to die, causing your efforts to be a complete waste.
- Don’t set up social media accounts and then never check them. Potential clients find unanswered inbox messages to be as disrespectful as a customer service person chatting with her boyfriend on the phone and filing her nails instead of offering her assistance. Keep those accounts up-to-date, and be sure to post and check messages/posts/comments regularly. Don’t tell your customers/vendors/employees you’ll reward them for good referrals and then not follow through. A business is only as good as the word of the person running it. Dishonesty is the fastest way to send your B2B business south.
- Don’t badmouth your competitors to your vendors and/or clients. It’ll just put a bad taste in their mouths in regards to you and your business, and it’s highly likely those same people may frequent those places as well.
This lists of dos and don’ts could go on and on. The important thing to remember is to simply work hard to offer top notch products and service to every person you meet. This alone will get you quick referrals. Then, you can add in a referral marketing strategy, and your B2B business will be well on its way to a successful 2018.