I recently attended a marketing seminar, presented by Robert Craven, and it was an interesting point, but not a surprise, to see that the best place to get referrals is from your existing customers. This is something we all want so we make a big effort to ask our customers for recommendations, referrals and testimonials.
However, do you return the favour and recommend your suppliers? At the end of the day they have given you a good service so it is a great way to say thank you.
Giving referrals and testimonials can actually be good for your own business. If you post a link via social media such as twitter and facebook or independent testimonials on places like 4Networking these are like having a mini advert for your business. Whilst you are singing the praises of someone else it shows that you are a willing supplier and ‘busier’ in your business. Remember there are always mentions of your name on the various media.
Often suppliers will give you referral links, in which you can actually earn money, or get discounted service costs just because you have gained them a client. You don’t necessarily do it for the money but hey, every penny counts!
It is also worth considering that some of your suppliers may be potential clients for your own services. If you are happy to praise them they may consider you in a better light when choosing.
I have mainly mentioned the internet ways of doing this but don’t forget word of mouth. If any of your contacts require a service try and recommend the best person for the job. Either pass on the card or email the contact details.
A word of warning though, don’t just recommend people for the sake of it. Only refer good quality people as this will give the best impression.
So don’t forget to ask for referrals, but don’t be afraid to give them – you never know what you may get back!