If you’re new to the online business world it can be easy to get wrapped up in our own priorities. But one of the most important things you can do is create lasting impressions on your current clients. Believe it or not, the online community is smaller than you think. Would you believe if I told you, I’ve built almost my entire business off referrals. Yep, simple old fashion word of mouth is a huge reason of where I am today! In this post I’m teaching you my exact steps for how to build a business on referrals. This way you can stop stressing over a social media marketing strategy and focus on serving your clients well!
There is no shortage of people that could use a virtual assistant. In fact, if you’re trying to become a Virtual Assistant and aren’t sure where to start, check out this 7 step guide for starting your VA business this weekend! However, trying to find the right someone that is great at their craft, reliable and trustworthy can be tricky. Which is exactly why people are more likely to trust a recommendation given to them by someone else they already trust!
When I worked in the retail industry, we had a saying called “surprise and delight”. The concept was you always want to surprise and delight your customers by doing small, unexpected things. This can be done in the smallest of ways. In the retail world, it was as simple as writing a handwritten note thanking the customer for their purchase and slipping it in their bag for them to find later. The same can be done for your Virtual Assistant clients!
In need of some examples of how to surprise and delight your clients? Maybe this means thinking ahead and working ahead! This could also be you taking action without waiting to be asked. This could be taking initiative or even making suggestions or systems to help make your client’s life easier. Trust me, you’ll know exactly when the time is right to surprise and delight your client!
Part of surprising and delighting your clients is that you aren’t afraid to make suggestions, step up and take initiate, or do things without being asked. Most business owners that hire Virtual Assistants are in need of an extra set of hands to help them get all the things done that always seem to fall to the bottom of their to-do list. Therefore, they don’t usually have time to micro manage you.
By doing these small things it not only shows that you’re a team player, but it shows that you care and are invested in their business just as much as they are. This is huge. Speaking from experience, most business owners equate their business to that of a baby because so much love, and care and nurturing goes into growing a successful business. Having someone they know in their corner, helps build that trust so they feel confident recommending you to their friends.
One of the foundational blocks of getting a referral is having a solid foundation of trust between you and your existing clients. One of the easiest ways to build trust is to under promise and over deliver. What I mean here is if you know something usually takes you and hour to complete, give yourself an hour grace period and say you can have something back in two hours. This way when you deliver it in an hour, your client is even more excited. However, if you are taking your time to ensure accuracy and happen to go into an hour and twenty minutes you aren’t stressed and now late for a deadline.
This concept goes back to reliability. Because being a Virtual Assistant means that you are a contractor, a certain level of flexibility comes with that. Legally a business owner can not tell you when or how much you can work. However, showing up when you say you will, sticking to deadlines and having open lines of communication all go into building trust. Your clients are interested in your work, but they are also interested in who you are too! They want to know that the person they are unlocking the back door of their business to isn’t going to run away with the keys. This is exactly what will lead to building a referral business and getting your clients to start referring more customers to you!
Whether you are a product based business or a service based business, referral marketing is key to building a successful small business! This can be done through good ‘ol fashion word of mouth marketing where your clients spread the word to all their family and friends. Or it can be through building a successful referral after cultivating a lasting relationship with your clients. Ultimately, the goal is to get to a point where no matter what type of client you have, they want to refer you to all their friends! However, building a good referral can take time, so be patient. Once you feel like you are in a good place with your clients, don’t be afraid to ask for the referral. Using your client’s referral networks is something that is done after you’ve built up trust and proven that you can provide results or a great product.
Remember, in order to grow your business through referrals, you have to ask for it! While you want good referrals to come naturally from your clients, it’s also okay to let them know you are looking to take on new clients and they can refer people to you too! There are a couple ways you can go about this process.
The first would be letting your client know that you have a referral program. If they refer someone to you they will receive X amount of money, or a gift card. Usually people will offer a set amount, like $250 per person that books a retainer package with you. If you aren’t wanting to go this route, no worries!
You can also simply let them know that you absolutely love working with them. If they have any friends looking for support you are looking to take on 1-2 more clients. Make it a point to mention how much you love working with them and would love to find other dream clients just like them. This will put you top of mind in case someone asks them for a recommendation. Oftentimes people aren’t sure if you’re taking on new clients or not. Being transparent here is key! Another option would be to post on social media you have X number of spots open for ____ month in ___ year. Remember, people don’t know you’re looking to take on more clients if you don’t tell them!
Once you’ve built a solid relationship on trust, consistency, and great work, your clients will be raving about you from the rooftops!