Ask for them! The easiest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Plain and simple. As discussed in the 1st post of this series we suggested you use referral coupons in your goodie bags to get your existing clients to refer clients to your salon. The best way to get your clients to hand them out is to offer incentives for referrals. Think about what you could offer to an existing client if they refer a new client. Maybe a free soak off at their next visit or 20% off. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. The first time you ask for a referral, you will probably be nervous about the request and it will probably be difficult. Remember you are asking people who already trust you and know that you offer great services. The trust that is part of your relationship will enable your client to understand the true nature of the request and respond accordingly. By the fifth time, it will be easy to ask. When referrals start booking appointments, asking for referrals will be much easier. With referrals, the growth of your business will advance exponentially.
Here are a few tips about when to ask for a referral if you have existing customers.
- Ask for a referral when you prepare marketing materials, like next appointment cards or promo flyers. Any marketing materials you create should include a statement like: Referrals to friends, relatives or business associates are the highest compliments we receive from our clients. We appreciate your referrals.
- Ask for a referral when making follow up calls. Building strong relationships with existing clients requires regular and ongoing contact. Contacting a client 3-5 days after a service for a courtesy call really helps build relationships with your clients. During the call say that you are checking in to ensure satisfaction with the service completed and ask if your assistance is needed for anything else. If you have done your job well the client will be expressing satisfaction with the service. This is the time to say, “ I appreciate your comments. Satisfied clients are important to me. I wonder if you are aware of anyone in your circle of contacts that might benefit from the level of service I provide? Are you aware that we have an incentive program for client referrals?’ then continue to explain your client referral program to them.
- Ask for a referral when you finish a service. Nails look their very best once completed and most clients are thrilled with the end result. This is the perfect time to explain your referral program to a client. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the client will know that you want a referral or that they know how to make a referral. Help them help you by asking for a referral and explaining how they can help you.
- Be ready whenever a client unexpectedly tells you how happy they are with your service. Don’t just say thanks. Have a script prepared in your mind with which you will ask for the referral you have earned.
- With new clients, you would be utilizing your goodie bags containing your referral coupons. When you give them the goodie bag, take the time to explain the contents and the referral program to them.
Here is an example of a referral card I found for a hairdresser: