Promoting your referral program is often overlooked but EXTREMELY important!
This past month I went in to have my teeth cleaned. While there I noticed a sign in the corner talking about how the practice loved referrals. Once my mouth was free of dental instruments I asked the hygienist about the referral program. She told me that they had just started the program and handed me a small business card with lines on the back to fill in when referring someone. She then went back to flossing my teeth and that was the end of that conversation.
Then, this week they sent me their monthly e-newsletter that included a link to their referral program as well. Between the business card, the signs in the office, and the newsletter there was one thing I noticed that was missing. The only place that it mentioned a reward for giving a referral was on the sign in the office, which by the way was somewhat hard for me to read from the chair, so I guarantee a lot of people are missing it.
In fact, the hygienist didn’t even mention the rewards given for referrals when I asked her about the program. She just handed me the card—which did not have anything about the rewards either.
Now, they have started off right by developing a program. But the problem is they think they are done when they have actually just begun. You must promote your referral program if you want your customers to participate. And your promotions MUST include what is in it for the referrer and/or the person they refer.
Here’s why. I have referred people to my dentist in the past that I know became patients. My dentist didn’t respond to me with so much as a thank you. Now you may say, “Maybe he didn’t know.” Not true. The people I referred told me that they had been sure to mention that I was the person who referred them.
If I had not seen the sign in the office talking about the rewards of referring, (and if I wasn’t in the referral business…) when I saw the email or the business card asking for referrals I would probably think, “I’ve referred people in the past and they didn’t even notice. Why should now be different?” Then I probably would have hit delete or thrown the card in the trash.
Odds are that most businesses have received referrals that they have failed to recognize prior to starting a referral program, just like my dentist. It is the nature of doing business that sometimes stuff falls through the cracks. So if you want to have a successful referral program you must let people know that you are going to work hard to let them know how much you appreciate their referrals.