Are you looking for the perfect gift to give your customers or clients this holiday season? There is one gift that has far greater lasting value beyond a spoken word of thanks, a sparkly holiday card or overflowing basket of nuts and baked goods. It is the ultimate gift — the gift of a referral.
When you tell a client or company that you believe in what they offer, so much so you are willing to tell others, you are bestowing a very special tribute. Beyond the confirmation, providing an unsolicited referral requires thought and work. It is a bit like the effort of making a homemade holiday gift versus buying all your gifts online. You have to think carefully about the need and fit between the referral and referee. You are attaching the value of your name as an endorsement to the product or service. You will forever be the link between the buyer and seller. Your gift will often be appreciated more because of the effort you put into the “making” of the gift.
Another reason for giving a referral as your holiday gift this year is the financial value. Customer referrals are instrumental for business growth. In fact, the value of a referral can even be more than a single purchase, especially if the client offerings are complex or dependent on developing long-term relationships with valuable prospects. Your gift can shave months off of the sales cycle. A referral can reduce the cost of sales and customer acquisition costs. You could be gifting a customer and potentially a profitable customer with significant real lifetime customer value (LCV).
Your word matters and your actions speak louder than your words. Everyone is grateful for a ringing testimonial. It serves great purpose to have your endorsement out into the marketplace to attract buyers for your clients and show your support. The actual gift of a referral is going beyond championing your like and approval. It is an affirmation that you believe both sides of the transaction will benefit. You are providing a seal of approval for an engagement between the buyer and the seller.
Yes, we all want customer recommendations on LinkedIn, Yelp and on our Facebook and Google+ pages. It is good business practice to endorse your customers and clients when they buy your services. This will encourage them to do the same for your business. Word of mouth and online reviews are proven to work. Market studies show buying decisions are impacted by referrals, as noted in HubSpot’s example of the impact of social media referrals: 71% More Likely to Purchase Based on Social Media Referrals [Infographic]. These endorsements are reviews of our work. They are critical to marketing today.
Knowing the value of a review and recommendation, the referral puts financial value to your words. As you put together your shopping list this holiday season, think about the best gift for your customers. A gift that only you can provide by making a meaningful connection. A word of gratitude followed by an invitation to do well. A contact that can lead to revenue. Give the ultimate gift to those that pay you. Give back by giving them a customer!
“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
By Jamie Glass, contributing editor at Project Eve, focused on startups, marketing, sales and leadership. CMO & President of Artful Thinkers and Managing Director of Sales & Marketing Practice at CKS Advisors.
About me: I have been helping business owners and CEOs grow, market and expand for more than two decades. My corporate experience comes from sitting at the table as a senior executive in public and private companies. I am a ravenous information consumer. I am passionate about selling, marketing, digital media, technology, social engagement, investing, leadership, growth, women in business, networking and entrepreneurship. I started as a communications person out of college and now I use this art to ignite conversations on topics that relate to my passions. My goal is to help others do better and do more. I am a managing director at an investment banking firm and own my own sales and marketing consulting practice. Carpe Diem! @jglass8 [email protected]