I see and run across numerous schemes and a wide-range of referral programs out there by many managed service providers. You know what I am talking about. Refer a client to us and we will give you an iPad. Refer a client to us and we will give you a $50 gift card…you know the list. We have all tried them at one time with little or know success. Why? Because we are trying to buy a lead and bought leads are crap. People just want the free set of steak knives, don’t they?
When I was VP Business Development for IT Matters in Calgary, we had a referral program as well. Ours was simple. Ask for referrals from our clients, vendors and partners and then simply say “THANK YOU”. Thank You was enough of a showing of appreciation. Sure, we went above that as well. Took our top clients to the best steak house in Calgary or gave them tickets to see the Calgary Flames.
Why did our clients refer us? Not to get lunch or hockey tickets. Because our clients wanted us to succeed and they trusted us to take care of their friends, colleagues and business associates. There was NO RISK to their reputation by referring IT Matters.
You have to read this blog post by Carl Fransen at CTECH, a Calgary Technology Services firm. It reminded me about how we built our business at IT Matters and why Carl’s team of Calgary IT Service professionals continue to get an endless stream of referral business. It is simply amazing. Carl is so busy in the Calgary market that he has slowed down many other forms of marketing his MSP business. Notice, I said SLOWED DOWN…He hasn’t STOPPED.
Here are my tips to build a successful referral program.
Stop giving away crap (iPad, steak knives or any other gimmick) to motivate people to share their valuable list of friends, family and colleagues with you.
Understand KNOW – LIKE – TRUST and get to TRUST quickly.
Service the HELL out of them. People will never refer you if they feel they are not taken care of.
Never stop saying THANK YOU and servicing them. Continue to service the HELL out of all your clients.
Get them to become a case study.
One of the things I shared with Carl during the early days of our friendship was something we did with IT Matters. We set the expectation up front, during the sales process, that your goal is for them to become a reference client and then work hard to get there. Never stop WOWing the client.
You know what that phrase did? Won us the majority of new business we ran across. Everyone wants to be taken care of. Try it.
Your MSP Marketing Professional
716.799.1999 ext 102
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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