Have you ever thought about the consequence of not thanking your business contacts for any referrals they may give you? Whether you thank them simply by sending a card or by also sending a gift, this is something you must implement into your relationship marketing strategy. If you are not doing this you are doing UNTOLD DAMAGE TO YOUR REPUTATION & THAT OF YOUR BUSINESS!
It is extremely important, therefore, to be sure to give every business contact that passes a referral to you a hearty and gracious ‘thank you’ immediately. A handwritten personal note is perfect as it provides that ‘feel good’ factor upon receipt but also serves as a reminder of a good deed done which other methods lack.
DOs & DON’Ts
Do remember to send a physical thank you in the post, even if you have seen the person and mentioned it personally as a verbal ‘thank-you’ is often forgotten. E-mail and telephone thanks are also no substitute for the personal touch that a card/gift can bring.
Don’t assume you deserve the referral just because you told them at the beginning of the sales process that you expect referrals from happy customers. If, for example, one of your customers writes some business with you and then refers, say, three of their contacts, who also write business with you, what do you think will happen if you don’t say thank you to your customer for those referrals especially if the three pieces of business written are for a considerable amount? There isn’t any doubt that you wouldn’t have been referred unless they were happy with the way you carry out your business, but if they refer people to you and you don’t tell them you are grateful or show any other form of appreciation for those referrals what do you think will happen? Over a very short period of time your client could, very well, become apathetic towards you and feel that you have taken their referrals for granted. This will result in them referring someone else, and NOT YOU, in the future.
Don’t use your company’s letterhead if sending a letter of thanks. High quality paper with your name and address, simply at the top of the paper, or a high quality greeting card are ideal to use. You don’t need it to be lengthy, just a few thoughtful lines expressing gratitude for the referral, informing them when you will next be in touch and a further thanks to close.
Don’t send branded items as a referral thank you such as t-shirts, umbrellas or paperweights . Any item such as these will be a complete ‘turn-off’ upon receipt as it smacks of insincerity. Any referral thank you gift given should be something personal to them for their use NOT something to help you promote your business.
Give Careful Consideration to What You Are Offering
It is really important you give careful consideration to any gift you will be offering as a referral reward. If you only have a small budget it is perfectly acceptable to send a ‘thank you for the referral’ greeting card. It is better to send a card on its own rather than accompanying it with a small insignificant gift. Bear in mind that any gift given needs to be something that someone wouldn’t mind receiving more than once as this will incentivise them into referring more people to you in the future. The value of the gift also needs to be something that makes it worth their while to refer people to you, such as a £25/$30 gift voucher from a high-end store, money-off coupon to use for your product/service or a bottle of champagne.
If your competition sends an e-mail or text and YOU send a handwritten card and include a gift, which of you is more likely to get a future referral? Yes – YOU! It is extremely important that you make this part of your Relationship Marketing Strategy. By formally sending thanks for referrals it will differentiate you from your competition.
Referees who feel appreciated will generate even more repeat business and referrals for you in the future. They will consistently send their friends, family and business contacts to you and, most importantly, referrals cost you nothing!
I hope you found this post useful. Please comment below on your thoughts with regard to referral thanks/rewards.
Until next time