Everyone knows that exercise and eating will make you lose weight! The idea is simple. So why doesnâ€™t everyone do it? The same holds true for marketing and sales. You know referrals cost less than traditional advertising. You know referrals usually create better, more profitable members. So why arenâ€™t you asking for and receiving more referrals?
The answer might be human nature, says Nicole Wicks, president of ReferNow.com â€“ an online referral rewards and customer loyalty marketing service.
â€œExercise and eating right requires change. Itâ€™s hard work. The same goes with asking for referrals. It takes practice and time to integrate referrals into everything you do, but it works,â€ said Wicks.
Wicks believes far too many organizations donâ€™t give referrals the attention they deserve.
â€œYou walk into a business and see they offer a cash bounty for referring a friend. This is usually a sign posted near the door or on the front desk. But the the front desk people or the sales guy who signed you up in the first place never mention the program,â€ she says.
Wicks believes Lifetime Fitness is one of the industry leaders in referral rewards programs.
â€œLifetime Fitness has done a great job of taking the risk off the table. When the person who is referring a friend can actually give a discount to the prospective member, everyone wins,â€ said Wicks. â€œIt gives a prospective member an opportunity to try it. It gives the current member something of value that they can pass along. It is a win-win for everyone.â€
Wicks advises new businesses to look at new members AND employees as champions of the brand.
â€œThe people that carry your torch, the people that carry your brand out to the rest of the world are your current customers â€“ so treat them well! Every company should have a program or a system in place to reward the people that are telling the world about you,â€ said Wicks. â€œYour members donâ€™t spend their days and nights thinking about your bottom line,â€ Wicks said. â€œSo itâ€™s okay to ask for referrals and not feel awkward about it. As your product adds value to the member, the number of referrals you receive should increase.â€
Wicks believes it does not matter if you ask for referrals before, during or after the sale â€“ the hard work, she explains, is getting the courage to simply ask.