February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Roland_Stellas_2-3_PW.pdf One word definition of referral: risk. Your customer is willing to risk the relationship he or she has with someone by trusting you will respect, honor and build it. Now that you understand why some people may be reluctant to refer you (especially if you ask, more especially if you ask too soon, most especially if you ask twice), let me give you the best strategy to get all kinds of referrals. It involves a one-word action plan: EARN. That is, earn referrals with... •Value perceived by the customer in the relationship •Value-based actions •Quality of relationship •Memorable service •Quality of product •Reliability •Consistency •Speed of response Note well: It's not just one earning action that will open the referral floodgates. It's all of them. These are actions that build loyalty and reputation. Referrals are the result and the report card. Here's the big secret: Give one. Here's the best strategy for giving a referral: Arrange a meeting where you bring your referral to the customer over lunch. Your customer will be dumbfounded. He or she will be ever so grateful, and will talk about you and the incident for years. Oh, by the way, your customer will go out of their way to provide you with two referrals as a genuine thank you. Caution: This requires work beyond the sale on your part. Note well: Even if your customer does not reciprocate, you're on the path to understanding the principle of "give value first." Don't keep score, just keep giving—even if the customer doesn't "pay you back," the world will pay you back times 10. 1 12/4/12 9:28 PM C M Y CM MY CY CMY K pw Use Info # 188 2013 February Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 15 | 15 1/16/13 4:30 PM

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