How thanking your referrers could transform your business this year

Sunlight and mist through the pines – J Van Cise Photos, Flickr

This may be the season of giving…but let’s not forget it’s also the season of saying thank you.  In the mayhem of the Christmas build-up where we frantically try and clear our desks before the break, it’s easy to forget the source of the business which has kept us busy this year.

Word of mouth recommendation is the most powerful and cost-effective form of marketing, certainly for professional services businesses:

  • 84% of people say they either completely trust or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues and friends about products and services [Neilson].
  • 74% identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision [Ogilvy/Google/TNS].
  • Word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54% [MarketShare].

If you don’t currently keep a record of your referrers, make next year your start.  And if you do keep track of who referred business and opportunities to you – make next year the year you keep them more informed of where that referral has led.

Thank your contact for recommending you – a handwritten note is always best. Keep them informed of how the relationship is developing; remember to send them a note of thanks, take them for lunch or send them or small gift as and when their recommendation turns into something substantial.  But most importantly remember to say thank you and keep them updated.

Not only is this good manners, it is also good relationship management. Your referrers are as important – and potentially more important, strategically – as your clients.  It’s a given that we always handle our client relationships with the ultimate care and attention.  But do you currently bestow the same level of attention on your referrers?

If you don’t then I strongly recommend you make next year your start.  It could be the single most transformational thing you do all year in your business.

With that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my clients, referrers, readers and friends a very merry Christmas.