Wednesday, October 24, 2007

low-cost marketing techniques - maximizing referrals

This post is part of a series, based on a talk I gave on the subject of inexpensive marketing techniques to the Toronto Chapter of Professional Organizers in Canada.

How do I market myself as a professional organizer? How do I market my professional organizing business?
Maximizing referrals

Many professional organizers will tell you that they get most of their new clients through referrals. Organizing is one of those services that require a high trust factor; clients want to know that someone they know has had success with you in the past.

This can make it challenging for new organizers or organizers expanding into new markets to get new clients. It pays to maximize any and all referral opportunities.

Start by ensuring that the products or services which you provide are absolutely exemplary. Do everything you can to make every client's experience with you positive and memorable. Go above and beyond the call of duty - always strive to exceed your clients' expectations. Happy clients are clients who will spread the word about your products or services - the best advertising you could get!

Do everything you can to encourage satisfied clients to refer you to their friends. If they mention that they know someone who could really use your services, ask them if they'd like a few of your business cards or brochures to distribute.

Include them on your e-mail or snail mail targeted mailing lists, so they can stay up-to-date on what's happening with you.

Send thank you cards when you finish a job, and special occasion cards if appropriate. Regularly incorporate into your services such value-added bonuses as tips newsletters or other freebies.

Pick up some insight into client retention and referrals from other professionals such as financial planners. My father has sold financial products for over twenty years, and in that time I've read a lot of his professional literature. Check out online articles such as this one on Client Retention Management by financial planner Ed Morrow.

Consider using formal or informal affiliations with other professionals to increase your referrals. This may not be your cup of tea - I know it's not mine - but many professions regularly charge and pay out referral fees for legitimate referrals or client leads. If you're a member of POC, there was a discussion about referral fees on the Member Forum earlier this year, here. (You'll need to log onto the member area of the POC website to read the thread.)

Networking is also a great way to increase referrals, and I'll talk about it separately in my next post.

If you have any success stories about how you've maximized your referrals, feel free to share them in the comments section, below.

ACTION ITEM: Come up with at least two strategies for maximizing client referrals, and implement them within the next 30 days
Suggested online searches: "maximizing referrals" "client retention management"

1 comment:

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