Every business owner wants to know the answer to this question. After all, if you know how to motivate people to buy, then you should have no trouble boosting your sales, which is the ultimate goal.
Once upon a time, the golden rule was give people what they need, because that is what they will spend their money on. While that may well have been the case a few decades ago, things are a little bit different now.
Statistics show that in today’s media driven society people are actually spending more money on the things that they want like, smart TV’s, High Tech Electronics and leisure activities than they are on the necessities like food and shelter!
That’s why it only stands to reason if you have a product or service to sell you need to present it to your prospects as something they want. Focus on what is in it for them, stress the benefits and make them feel like it is something they absolutely must have. Make them feel like they can’t live without it.
People buy because they get pleasure from their purchase. They don’t walk into a car dealership and buy the latest model because they need it they do it because it makes them feel good to drive it.
Whether it is the comfort of the plush leather seats, the power windows, or the symbol of status, they just love driving their new car! Whatever their reason, you can rest assured that their decision was based on want, not need.
Want isn’t the only thing that motivates people to make a purchase. While it is the leading factor, many other triggers can motivate them to whip out their wallets. For instance, if you can connect your product or service to consumers in a way that can helps them:
Or take advantage of opportunities that will benefit them in a positive way then you can motivate them to take action. Once you find out what they want and present your product or service to the in a way that makes them feel like they can’t live without it, you should have no trouble boosting sales for your business.
If you shop online or if you’ve ever made a purchase from a website like Amazon then chances are testimonials probably played a big part in your decision-making process.
Customer testimonials have the power to boost your sales substantially and they do it without spending and extra money on advertising. They are excellent emotional triggers. A glowing recommendation from happy customer can create a level of trust and provide potential customers with the ability to imagine what it would be like to purchase your products or services.
Typically, when someone begins shopping for a new product and service, one of the first things they take into consideration is the recommendation of others. They seek advice from family, friends, and testimonials of complete strangers. They do this because they want to make an informed choice.
Testimonials give them insight into how other people feel about the product or service as well as a good idea of what can do for them. So, do not underestimate the impact they can have on your business.
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Get any group of marketers together and ask them what they think about customer referral programs. The chances are extremely good that you’ll hear a universal chorus of approval.
What’s not to love about customer referrals? They’re a free way to generate leads. Even if you offer an incentive for referrals, you’ll probably end up paying less for them than you would for advertising.
There’s a reason that so many businesses offer referral programs…
But what you may not know is that most of them are actually failures.
That might surprise you, but it shouldn’t.
Referral programs fail because companies just set them up without thinking about them. They don’t consider the three big questions:
1. What makes customers refer their friends and acquaintances to a business?
2. What are the benefits customers receive from your products?
3. When and how should you promote your referral program?
If you’re shaking your head and realising that you’ve made this mistake too, don’t worry. We’re here to help you figure out how to make your referral program a big success.
Why Do Referrals Happen?
Let’s start with question number one: What makes a customer want to refer a friend to a particular business?
That’s a big question and an important one. If you don’t understand it, you might just end up spinning your wheels with a referral program that appeals to nobody.
According to Jonah Berger, who wrote a book called Contagious: Why Things Catch On, there are six potential factors that might make your customers want to give you a referral:
- Social currency comes first. Will a referral make your customer look good on their own or in comparison to other people?
- Emotions play a big role in decision making. If your referral program engages customers’ emotions, they’ll be more likely to refer.
- Virality is up next. When an idea or concept is easy to remember, it’s also more likely to spread. That’s just as true of referrals as it is of cat videos.
- Stories are important to people. If your referral request comes disguised as a story, then it’s more likely that people will want to share it.
- Practicality is really at the core of referrals. Is your product practical? Is the incentive to refer it practical too?
- Publicity is the final factor. People tend to follow what others do, but only if they can see that they’re doing it.
The good news is that you don’t have to engage all six of these factors to make your referral program a success. You just need to use the ones that make sense in the best possible way to inspire referrals from your existing customers.
How can you optimize the “why” of your referral program? The key is making it clear that your product aligns with your customers’ core concerns, beliefs, and values.
For example, Apple sells its products by talking about their desire to challenge the status quo. They encourage their customers to think of themselves in a certain way that tells a story and taps into their emotions.
Keep in mind that this aspect isn’t about what you offer in return for a referral – although it’s a good idea if you can connect it to those same values.
What Benefits Does Your Product Provide?
Next, let’s talk about the benefits that existing customers can gain if they refer their friends to you.
This question relates most closely to the issues of practicality and social currency. If someone is going to give you a referral, they want to know:
- Will it make me look good?
- Will it help my friend?
- What’s in it for me?
To understand how this might work, let’s look at an example.
Cloud storage company Dropbox increased their sign-up rate by 60% in 2010 by using a simple referral proposition that hit all three of these points perfectly.
The specific offer was that for every friend who signed up for Dropbox, the customer making the referral would receive 500 MB of free storage – and so would their friend. They placed of 16 GB on the referral program.
This offer makes the referrer look good because they’re offering their friend a practical and valuable solution for cloud storage along with a freebie. The benefits to their friends are obvious – and then the person making the referral gets a freebie too.
Think about what you can do to highlight the practical benefits of participating in your referral program. The more obvious they are, the easier it will be for people to make the leap and take part.
When and How Should You Promote Your Referral Program?
The last step is knowing when and how to promote your referral program. Where do you advertise it?
The key is making sure that your customers see it (there’s no point in showing it to non-customers) at the time when they are most likely to take action.
A lot of companies make the mistake of putting information about their referral program in the footer of their website or on their home page.
That does nothing to speak to the emotions of your customers, or to trigger them to take part.
Instead, a better bet is to consider the best way to reach out directly to your customers when they are at their most emotional – and most likely to be enamored of the practicality and value of your products.
In case you were wondering, that’s right after they make a purchase!
The best way to get it to them is to use an email autoresponder. Most customers expect to see a follow-up email after they make an online purchase, and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to outline the benefits of your referral program.
If you want referrals to pour in like rain…
Don’t just dump your referral program in some out of the way corner of your home page.
Instead, make it clear why people should give you referrals and what they (and their friends) can gain from doing so.
Then, hit them with the information about it at exactly the same time – and sit back and collect the referrals that result.
Word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest, but very effective forms of advertising. Simply put, it is the means of one person telling another person something about your business. It has always been one of the most powerful tools to have as an advertising medium. Ask yourself, are you more interested in listening to what a commercial has to say or what your best friend has to say? Who is more believable?
As a business, part of your advertising plan should focus on word of mouth advertising. But in the world of today, word of mouth advertising is not just one person telling another of a product, as in one woman telling another woman about a product they love. Rather, there are many online and offline methods for delivering a word of mouth experience.
In this article, we focus on a few methods of advertising that can help you to pull out those recommendations that you want to get from others. How can you get recommendations and referrals from the customers you already have or the ones that you will be getting?
Focus on Providing a GREAT Customer Experience
The first and most important element of advertising is not spoiling the business that you have. Each customer that comes into your doors needs to be a customer treated as if they are the most important customer for the business. Although this may seem difficult to do, it is all about delivering a quality service and smiling.
Customer service is important to business success. If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, you tell your family and friends about it, and stop them from going there. Not only does the business lose your business but that of your family and friends, too. What you want to create, on the other hand, is an atmosphere in which the words being passed on are top quality recommendations to visit your establishment.
If you are not sure what you can do to improve your customer service, go right to the source: your customer. Find out from them what you can do to improve your overall experience.
Empower Brand Ambassadors
If your business is a locally based one, as opposed to one that is Internet based, focus on local offers that can help bring in customers. For example, a customer comes in to your hair salon. You know they had a great experience and so you offer them a discount card for their next visit and include one for their friend. If they pass on the card, you have an opportunity for them to tell the potentially new customer about your salon. This is easy advertising!
Be Active In the Community
Another way to generate more word of mouth advertising is to let others know about your business by allowing them to get to know you. Be visible and an active player in the community. Schools, Churches, community organisations as well as government offices are great ways for you to grow your local popularity. Introduce yourself to your customers. Shake their hand. Be present in your place of business.
Ask for the Recommendation
Unbelievably, one of the best ways for you to get the customers to respond to you is to ask for a recommendation. For example, you have saved someone £250 off his or her car repair bill. That is nothing to be shy about. As the customer is happily paying their now discounted bill, you can easily say to them that you are looking for new clients. Would they please recommend your service to their friends and family?
When you ask for business, even if it is simply by asking for a group of customers to come back again, you allow those customers to feel welcome within your business. More so, they are happy to tell others about their experience, especially when asked to do so.
Ask Customers to Complain
Did you know that most customers who have a bad experience never report that experience to the business? However, they do tell family and friends about it, or even worse, they get online and start talking about it. Ask customers to tell you of the problems they have with your business so you can turnaround their bad experience into a good one.
Under Promise… Over Deliver
Next, work on going over the expectations of your clients. You do not want to do the bare minimum or to get the basic level of acceptance. Rather, you want to focus on beating their expectations so that your business can flourish when they come back repeatedly so you can take advantage of what you have to offer.
Satisfy the Unhappy Customer
The customer is never wrong, even when you know they are wrong. It happens within every business. How do you handle the disgruntled, unsatisfied customer? That’s easy… You do whatever you can to satisfy them. It’s not worth jeopardizing the good reputation you’ve spent years building. In fact, many studies show that when an unhappy customer is satisfied, they become a lifetime customer of the business, simply because the business listened to them and fixed the problem.
Look Them In The Eye
When you are working with customers hand in hand, shake their hand, look them in the eye and let them know how important they are to you. This establishes a bond of trust and it helps to develop customer loyalty. Reach out, ask for their business and thank them for visiting you. This will make a difference.
As you will notice, virtually all of these word of mouth advertising methods are free or inexpensive. They make sense. They should be part of your advertising plan without fail. If they are not, add them in to the mix to ensure that your business has the foundation it needs to excel this year.