We talked recently about providing a dream come true experience and after sales service. If you’ve followed through and are crafting amazing experience and providing unmatched after sales service, you’ve almost undoubtedly made a huge impact on your client.
They know you, They like you. They trust you.
What would you expect from someone that thinks of you like that? Well, referrals of course.
However, even if you’re doing those things correctly, you’re leaving a lot of referrals on the table.
Passive and Reactive Referrals
If you’re like most caterers and bartenders, you only get two kinds of referrals – passive and reactive referrals. These are the kinds of referrals that everyone typically thinks of one when you talk about referrals.
Passive referrals are when someone calls you and mentions that they were referred. So if you threw a great corporate party last month, followed up with that client and they told a friend who called you, that’s a passive referral.
Reactive referrals are when a current client tells you about someone they know that could use a caterer or bartender and then you reach out to them. It’s basically a hot lead.
If you’re offering a great service, you’re likely to get a lot of passive and active referrals. And that’s awesome!
BUT, what if you could increase the number of referrals you were getting by adding a whole new class of referrals:
Active referrals are a whole new class of refer all and one that have a tremendous ability to generate more business for you.
The first key to getting active referrals is to change the way you think about referrals in general. Most people think that other people are referring you as a favor to you. That’s dead wrong.
Your clients are referring you in order to make themselves feel good. It’s our natural tendency as humans to tell others about good experiences we’ve had. We want to be known as the person that can provide value to others. Doesn’t it just feel good making someone else feel good?
Think about the last time you recommended a funny movie to someone and they watched it, then came back to you to tell you how good it was. Didn’t that make you feel good? You bet it did.
Did you tell them about that movie as a favor to the movie director or film company? No! You did it to make yourself feel good by helping someone out.
That’s exactly why people refer others to you. They want to make themselves feel good, not you.
Now that we know why people refer others to you, we have to look at the environment in which that happens.
In order for a referral to happen there have to be two or more people in a conversation (duh!) and 3 criteria have to be met:
- They notice that the conversation is related to catering or bar tending
- They think about you
- They introduce you into the conversation (because they want to make themselves feel good)
Once you realize that these conversations are going on all the time, you realize how important it is to provide a great experience and after sales service. Those help to make your business memorable so past and current clients are more likely to think about you and introduce you into the conversation.
How to Overwhelm Yourself with Active Referrals
However, you have an opportunity to go above and beyond to make sure that your clients always think about you in those conversations.
Start a Monthly Client Newsletter
One way that you can make yourself memorable and top of mind is by staying in contact with your clients with a monthly newsletter. Ask your clients or potential clients if they would like to be notified of what you’re working on or with special offers or information.
By sending monthly client newsletters with interesting and valuable information (like new offerings, fun recipes, or cool party ideas and trends) you’ll gain even more trust of your clients since you’re positioning yourself as an expert. Not only will this make current clients more likely to do business with you again, it lets you keep yourself top of mind so they’re more likely to refer you actively.
Craft a Memorable After Sales Experience
Another great way to make sure your clients are thinking about you and more likely to introduce into a conversation is to have a dedicated part of your after sales service that leaves an impression – both physically and mentally.
I think for caters and mobile bar tenders, sending a hand written note along with a nice bottle of liquor or wine is a great way to do this. In a world dominated by email, a handwritten note really makes you stand out in their mind.
Sending them a bottle of wine or liquor is effective because it serves as a reminder of their experience every time they pass it in their house.
These are only two ways that you can help keep yourself top of mind with clients. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other options!
Create a Memorable Experience
A key element to standing out and delivering an amazing experience that will help get you more referrals is your appearance and professionalism at the event itself.
We believe that our Professional Portable Bar and Standard Portable Bar give you all the tools you need to provide premium service and create a professional, upscale experience that leaves your clients read to business with you again.
credit: If you like the ideas presented here, I credit the origin to Dean Jackson and Joe Polish of the I Love Marketing Podcast. If you want to learn more about effective marketing strategies and tactics – check them out! (You see what I’m doing here? I’m referring you because it makes me feel great. I know that if you go this it will make a big impact on your business and that’s what I want!)