Consistent sales success is a must for any business. Making the statement is easy – putting that plan into action is the hard part. That’s where TRACKFARE comes into play. Over the coming weeks, we’ll discuss how optimising and improving your business with our fine-tuned method gives you the foundations you need to give you profit, productive sales techniques and above all, prospects.
TRACKFARE cuts through all the waffle-y words and marketing fluff and gets straight the point of what your business needs. An easy to implement, precise method to build up your business to be a long-term success. The first step in a three-part model system designed to enhance your business practices, TRACKFARE explores nine core foundations that you need to utilise to improve your business; bringing in more prospects, converting them to fantastic leads and ultimately increasing existing customer satisfaction.
We’re nearly at the end of the track with our latest post in the TRACKFARE series; this week we’ll be looking at the second ‘R’ in our fool proof method; Recommend! Businesses aren’t just built from nothing, and establishing a loyal customer base and gaining new prospects via recommendation is a fantastic way to not only expand your profits but improve your credibility. After all, who doesn’t look at the reviews first when they’re considering a purchase; whether it’s a hoover or a laptop or anything else for that matter?
This week we’ll be looking at all forms of recommendation, and why having positive associations with your business that are unbiased and from an outside source are so important when it comes to working towards success. And once you’ve got that feedback, we’ll take a look at what you should be doing with it to make that information work for you. So, let’s get stuck in!
Why Is Recommendation important?
Whether it’s a dedicated blog, a form below a product or just a social media 5-star rating, recommendations and reviews have never been more important when it comes to promoting your business. Recommendations are the number one decider for consumer purchases; it could come in the form of a suggestion from a friend or family member or the advice of an expert, but the act of recommendation from a trusted source is an important part of any prospect’s journey.
According to a study for RewardScheme by Ed Keller, ‘Personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions at every stage in the purchase cycle across 10 product categories studied, from banking to vacation travel and from subscription entertainment to retail categories, such as apparel and personal care products.’. What this study shows is that the requirement for recommendation is universal; it doesn’t matter what service or product you’re offering to your prospects.
Not yet convinced? An additional study by Nielsen found that in comparison to how important recommendations are in a consumer’s choice of purchase, only 37% of those studied would trust search engine ads, and just 24% trust online banner ads. Trust is an important commodity for any business, and recommendations can provide that.
Now we know why recommendations are so important – let’s take a look at how you can get that positive feedback rolling in.
To get those recommendations, your business has to be worthy of gaining them in the first place – people don’t tend to offer a recommendation or positive reviews of a service or product they’re not happy with! Make sure your existing customers are happy, and deliver everything you promise, and you’re much more likely to find recommendations pouring in.
However, in the modern day just offering your prospects exactly what they expect is not enough to impress. According to a HelpScout survey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. The world expects more from customer service than ever before, and though consumers are quick to complain when something is not achieved, simply doing your job isn’t enough to set you apart from your competitors.
So, how do you stand out from everyone else? The answer is simple: go above and beyond. Exceed your prospect’s expectations and once their purchase is made they’re much more likely to offer positive feedback both to yourself and to their other personal or business connections. We’ve covered multiple ways you can exceed your customer’s expectations in previous posts, but according to SuperOffice there are three main ways you can improve satisfaction and impress customers:
- Quality first, not speed – provide the best service you can, don’t rush your prospects
- Connect – spend less time following a script and more time adapting to your customer’s needs
- Go the Extra Mile – make the experience memorable, in a positive way
Sometimes recommendations won’t be forthcoming even from your most happy customers, so don’t be afraid to follow up a positive experience with a phone call and request for testimonials; whether it’s a simple sentence for your website or a full-blown video campaign. Happy customers are by far the best asset to marketing any business.
We’ve all seen the ‘share with your friends!’ option on the apps and websites we use, and there’s a reason that this kind of referral scheme is one of the things put in front of our faces on accessing a service when a certain amount of time has passed. As we’ve already talked about, recommendations are an incredibly powerful tool in gaining new prospects.
Most referral schemes are built specifically for use with social media, whether that’s sharing an app to their Facebook page, tweeting about their product purchase or sending a service to specific personal contacts via Messenger. These schemes plug the gap between face-to-face and digital marketing, allowing for more organic and more efficient social media advertising.
Salesforce has some top tips for creating an effective, engaging referral scheme:
- Timing – make sure you’re targeting your customers at the right point in their journey
- Benefit the recommender – after all, if there’s nothing in it for your existing customer they’re far less likely to want to contribute to your marketing!
- Value – make your referral offers something of value to all those involved, whether it’s a discount or gift
- Tracking – know what’s working by keeping track of your referred customers or prospects
- Thank you – make sure your customers know you appreciate their support
Give To Get
You’ve got to give a little to get a little, and recommendations are no exception! All the benefits we discussed above are relevant to any business that you deal with if you happen to be impressed by the way you’ve been treated. And to throw another cliché into the works, what goes around comes around; that company that you purchased something from previously might have a need for your product or service in the future. If you’ve already got a good relationship with the company thanks to their service and your recommendation, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t choose to work with you again.
Recommendations don’t have to be that linear, though; a study by Zocalo Group found that 92% of consumers included view word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family as the most influential when it came to them making purchasing decisions. If you were to suggest a service to a friend and they then told the business they purchase from that the referral came from you, that brings the feedback full-circle. Companies will always appreciate your support even if it’s just in a minor way and will be far more likely to reciprocate.
Follow your Feedback
In an ideal world, and with exemplary business practices, every piece of feedback you get would be glowing. Every customer would be over the moon with your customer service and recommended prospects would be coming in thick and fast. Unfortunately, in reality, it’s not likely to be that easy, as nice as the thought is. There are, however, several ways you can improve your chances of future recommendations.
The first thing you should ensure that you do is to set automated or planned business practices in motion. The first hurdle to any business is ensuring your practices benefit both you and your prospects, and being able to have a standard template for this can only help when it comes to customer service on a larger scale. Aim always to impress your prospects and tailor your techniques per person, but a solid base plan in place is never a bad thing.
Secondly, if you get negative or neutral feedback don’t be tempted to ignore it. Use any feedback that’s viable as constructive, and weed any information you can get out of it to improve your business. It can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects, so let your customers do it for you! Put any constructive, simple feedback into action immediately, and anything that will require longer to accomplish should go into plans if relevant.
If someone takes the time to write something to you, whether it’s in an email, in person or on social media, take the time to respond – even if it is negative! There’s nothing that loses customer’s faith more than being ignored, and seeing other customers ignored in a public forum is a close second. Be sure to thank customers for any recommendations too, maybe following up with a phone call or message to let them know you appreciate their support.
Ready, Steady, Go!
As you now know, recommendations are truly one of the most important ways you can passively market your business. They’re fantastically effective, truthful and above all useful when it comes to gaining new prospects. There’s nothing like a glowing review and a happy customer to support everything you say about your business. Ask for feedback wherever you can as well – from your website to your social media, there’s always a chance to gain positive interactions and constructive feedback.
We’re only one letter away from the end of TRACKFARE, and it’s been a fantastic journey; we hope you found our tips and tricks useful to your business practices. We’ll see you again next week for the finale of TRACKFARE with the letter ‘E’ – for Enthusiastic.
Don’t forget that every letter of TRACKFARE counts, so accompany your new-found skills with some actions to demonstrate ways that you can apply our methods to your business.
Can’t wait a whole week for more? If you want to give TRACKFARE a go, we’ve launched a video series covering all nine steps of the model; including invaluable strategies and innovative methods to further develop your prospects and bring you even more profit. There are over 3 hours of content included, stuffed full of tips and tricks to get your business on ‘TRACK’ (get it?). As we always like to remind you, TRACKFARE is what you need to increase your prospects – we’ll help you make sure you’re giving the right message, give you the correct mind set and give your profits a boost in the long-term.