At the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog about our Q1 Quarterly Rocks. Don’t remember? Have a read. Now that you’ve jogged your memory, let’s chat about bullet point #5 – Rewards & Referrals. This Rock has some serious power and has directly impacted bullet point #4 (Six New Clients) and bullet point #3 (Implementation of Q1 Marketing Plan).
What makes referrals and rewards so awesome? In my opinion, it has a lot to do with the Golden Rule and the social psychology that helped Pavlov with his dogs.
When you do unto others as you would want done unto yourself, it’s a great feeling for everyone involved. So when it comes to referrals, if you want them, you have to give them. I’m not saying hand out referrals like candy, but make connections between two parties with a supply and demand challenge. If you know someone who is looking for widgets and you have had a great experience with a widget company, help make the connection. This assistance not only creates good karma, but when you scratch someone’s back, they’ll scratch yours and then everyone is pleased. It’s a win-win.
A mutually beneficial relationship is a reward in itself, but everyone likes a little something tangible, too. Now, don’t feel like you have to go out and buy a dozen flowers for the next person that gives you a referral, but a small gesture of appreciation goes a long way. We used to send simple, hand-written thank you notes, but since making referrals and rewards part of our objectives for Q1 we’ve started adding Starbucks gift cards to the notes. Turns out, a couple cups of coffee are very much appreciated; we’ve even received thank you notes for our thank you notes.
Since fully investing in this concept, amazing things have happened. We signed four new clients in one month (bullet point #4 – Six New Clients), two of which directly resulted from referrals. Talk about awesome sauce. Can you imagine if we started encouraging referrals six months, one year or two years ago? What about your organization or business? Could referrals help bring in 50 percent of your new business?
We consciously weaved rewards into our marketing plan from the onset (bullet point #3 – Implementation of Q1 Marketing Plan). We wanted to include warm fuzzies in our touch points for all of our clients, not just those who have directly referred us. This meant going beyond our usual e-newsletters and monthly e-blasts. We sent love with Valentine’s Day and plan to give our Georgia CVB clients and friends the VIP treatment at the upcoming winter meeting.
With a dedicated and renewed focus on rewards and referrals this year, we have already seen the benefits with an increased client base and newly formed relationships. We’d love to hear stories of your referral and reward process!