there are consumers who do not know the real estate business, how architects work, how to deal with attorneys, why to get your house staged, the importance of branding, a good wine, and who to contact for wart removal...
you ask your friends and associates FIRST if a local professional is needed: doctor, lawyer, dentist, real estate agent, specialty restaurant, accountant, etc. you can hear directly the pros and cons of any referral from someone you Trust.
you will go to the internet SECONDLY when these referrals may not be savory or suit your dilemma or inquiry the best, or if you wish to be private about things. yelp is not reliable, but FB might be helpful.
you tend to search online for those closest to you, correct? so, having a web with localized information is important. do you have a map on your web? do you have a blog that discusses what you do and area attractions? do you have referrals to other businesses that may be of interest to your target market? all things to ponder...
so, this morning, while pondering, burning some time, I recalled an earlier referral after asking for some info on a particular guitar for sale on Craigslist. I was out of the guitar playing business for over 40 years and had a lot of catching up to do. I started buying all sorts of git fiddles here and there (ebay, pawn shops, guitar stores, craigslist, etc.) and took these older ones to Sam Ash (musical instrument store) for refurbishing. the guitar tech there saw me constantly in and out (during the last recession) and recommended this particular guitar that was a 'sleeper'. I bought 15 of these, recorded 30 songs with the exact same model. here is a Tom Petty classic:
is this just me, or do any of you get obsessive when the 'perfect' referral is handed to you??
credible referrals are very important to any business.
1. Google has a rating on the side when a search pulls up a business. If you have great clients who wouldn't mind writing a compliment, DO ask them to do that.
2. Any other industry web that can offer referrals by previous or existing clients is valuable. Houzz has a listing of professionals which encourages small writeups by satisfied clients.
3. Video referrals are extremely important. You see these on YouTube, and especially on TV. You can tell when they are 'manufactured' so go for the 'real thing'.
4. Your web can have a page of quotes for referrals and recommendations. Look through your emails and find those that are particularly attractive.
5. Handouts/brochures should have some select quotes from pleased clients. I have developed a series of fliers and mailers that not only show what I can do but have snippets injected.
6. If you can afford to have Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ryan Reynolds plug your service, the benefits are even greater.
7. Putting lists of related professionals on your web can help your SEO. I have found that 'Best' this or that in 'your market area' tends to show up in search results serendipitously...
8. Your sign on someone's property is a form of recommendation. It could be the best you have in 'real time'.
9. A blog where you can show off your expertise is also a form of referral. Very indirect, but simply being online and talking about your sales efforts, local charity events, volunteer work, etc. is a positive referral.
10. Pay for a recommendation. Yes, contact an online influencer. There are companies that can match you best with the product or service you have and a personality online who has an immense following and creates videos describing or demonstrating your product or service. This can be very effective as the audience should be most receptive, a target group of people.
Ron and Alexandra Seigel talk about 'top of mind status'. The simplest way to achieve this is to be seen at industry events, to participate in awards programs, to have effective marketing that keeps your name out in front of people. Mixing in social circles, civic events, clubs and other organizations proves you are a current player and achiever. You want to achieve "word of mouth" expert status. Credible referrals are offered on your behalf when you are perceived as being a top name in your field/niche.