Founder and CEO of The Condo Store Group of Companies, a leader in North American real estate investments.
Originally published on Forbes.com.
How do you spend your marketing budget? How big is your marketing budget and do you feel your return on investment (ROI) is the best it can be from this spend? Any business faces these questions, and some have the answers, some think they do and a small distinct group may know how much their marketing dollars are working for them.
In sales, and in business in general, the ideal situation would be not to chase clients but instead have them come to you. How amazing would it be to have new clients look to you for advice and ask about what you are selling? And then, you can focus on delivering top-notch service for your clients and do what you do best.
This is a referral-based business and it can be done, but it takes patience, a solid reputation and more often than not, a niche market. My company has annual sales in the range of $500 million to $1 billion, and 75% of our clients are in the medical community — 95% coming from referrals over time.
Your business will need to be referral-worthy and it might already be, but maybe you aren’t taking full advantage of it. Here’s how I cultivated a network of referrals.
Ensure your end results are solid before you begin.
When you are delivering the type of results your clients and customer enjoy, they are absolutely more likely to refer you and your business. This is a big idea.
When you consistently deliver for your clients, you will stand out and others will take notice. Be ready to leverage this notice into future sales. When other people experience the benefit of working with you and your business, you are on the right track to a successful referral-based operation.
If you don’t deliver consistently, even the best and most shrewd relationship-builder will struggle to get quality referrals from their clients, because the client isn’t sure that you’ll perform for their friend, family or colleague.
You should have a picture of what your ideal client looks like.
It is incredibly important to treat every client as your top client and deliver the respect that they deserve, but the truth is that a great deal of your business will come from a smaller amount of your entire client base. The majority of my clients are senior medical professionals, but that wasn’t the original intended customer base. At least, I didn’t target a certain sector of individuals.
When your clients truly understand what you bring to the table and how instrumental you are in delivering on your promises, they automatically and systematically seek out other like-minded family, friends and colleagues that are referral worthy.
When your clients invest more and have tangible value, in our case, in the form of investment returns, they will refer more and more people within their circle of influence to your firm. In turn, this will create even more clients who are willing to put your name forward as long as you don’t lose sight of the need to be consistent and reliable in your business ethics.