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Referral harvesting- what it is and how it works

It’s one of those business truisms we tend to accept without a second thought: the best new business comes via word of mouth.

Which is great… if you’re not just standing around waiting for the referrals to come flooding in of their own accord. That’d be like standing at the back of an unfamiliar pub hoping a stranger at the bar will offer to buy you a drink. Possible but unlikely, as it leaves too much to chance.

This is why I recommend – and set up on behalf of clients – a process of harvesting referrals ON PURPOSE. It works like this:

People who Know Us, Use Us & Are Long Term Loyal should be asked to recommend us to their networks, neighbours, family, friends, associates, affiliates and co-workers. So should people who are Recent And Happy Customers. They are asked to recommend us to two people of equal value to themselves. If they can’t manage 2 referrals, or even 1, it’s okay to send them a polite reminder.

Those who have been referred are contacted and told that their friend (insert name here) has recommended them to us. If they sign up, we might offer them a welcome and “join now” incentive.

The people who brought them to us should receive a thank you gift voucher, or similar.

It can be a slow process and needs close-up management and monitoring but think about this: if only HALF your existing client base deliver two new customers each to your business, what would that do for sales and profit. Wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

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