A customer asks, “I am looking for suggestions about letters of introduction–‘Why you should tell your clients about me’ letters.”
“We have a real estate inspection business and are in search of more business, especially targeting Realtors®. Any suggestions?”
Any marketing communication should explain the benefits of doing business with you. What do customers get when they hire you? Not just the nuts-and-bolts of what you do and how you do it, but the results customers get. What makes your product or service better than others’? Do you find things others miss? Make appointments around the client’s schedule and offer extended hours? Give faster turnaround? The first thing you have to address is what is in it for the clients your prospects may refer.
There is an additional level of benefits to consider when you are asking someone to refer their friends, colleagues or clients. What is the benefit to the person making the referral? In some cases, what’s in it for them might be a tangible reward, even cash. However, in many circumstances such a reward is neither expected nor appropriate. So what do they get for making referrals? Will referring clients to you make life easier for them and for their clients? Why?
When you are asking professionals to refer their clients to you, you are also asking them to risk their reputations on you. If you don’t do a good job, it reflects on them. Demonstrate that you will do a great job. Include your credentials, information about your experience, and testimonials. Testimonials from clients you’ve served are great, but testimonials from people who have made successful referrals to you are even better. So, in this case, include one or more testimonials from Realtors® who regularly refer clients, as well as some from individuals who have used the inspection service.
What if you don’t have a testimonial from a referral source, because you’re not getting those referrals yet? Focus on having some great customer testimonials, and add a referrer testimonial to your marketing as soon as you can.
Follow up. A professional is unlikely to start referring clients to you just because they got a letter. Make yourself known to them by becoming active in local organizations, contacting them more than once, etc.
And, lastly, don’t expect overnight results. You have to build your reputation, build awareness of your business, and prove yourself before you see maximum results. But once you’ve established some great connections, your referral network will be a pipeline bringing customers to your business.