Even with the increased use of the internet in advertising, there’s still something to be said for promoting your limo company by word-of-mouth. Few things sell people on a business as effectively as a recommendation from someone that they trust. To expand your client base, increase the number of referrals you receive from your current customers.
Entrepreneur magazine reported that a best practice when asking for a referral is to try to narrow your focus. Instead of asking, “Do you know anyone who would like to hear more about our services?” ask, “Do you have any colleagues who you think would be interested in using a limo service?” When you ask more generally, your customers will likely be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people that they know and no one person will stand out. Narrowing the field will force your customers to think of specific people that they know, increasing the likelihood that a particular name or two will come to mind.
It’s also important to be specific about how you would like referrals. Do you have a form for customers to fill out? Is there an option on your website? Ensuring that your customers know how you want the referral will increase the odds that they’ll actually follow through.
Providing incentives for referrals can be an extremely effective strategy. Forbes magazine reported that that two words are key: serious value. Offer your customers something that they actually want and will use, whether it’s a gift card to a popular local restaurant or a discount on their next ride. Don’t be afraid to try offering different incentives to see which your customers respond to best.
For the best results, create a time limit to whatever benefit you’re offering. If you offer a $50 rebate for referrals during a particular week, your customers will be less likely to forget than if it’s an open-ended possibility.
If you want referrals, it’s important to to thank customers who recommend your business to others. Whether it’s a gift or a hand-written note, be sure that they know how much you appreciate their confidence in your limo service. It may be tempting to just send out an automated email, but taking that extra step with a hand-written thank you will create a much better impression, further fostering that relationship.
When you receive a new client, make sure to ask how they heard about your business. If they were referred by another customer, take the time to properly thank that client. They will likely be impressed that you put in the effort to recognize them and be more likely to continue sending referrals your way in the future. Your customers are the strongest testimony to the services you provide, so be sure that they know they are valued.