Fact: Referrals and recommendations can grow a business faster than any other marketing channel.
The thing is – doing great work doesn’t actually guarantee that a client will want to recommend your MSP company to someone else.
In fact, in spite of your successful business relationship, they might not want to tell others about you.
And so, to make a client eager to recommend you to another company looking for IT help, you need to make yourself referral-worthy first.
You need to become an IT provider that clients not only want to refer but are eager to tell their connections about.
And in this post, we’ll show you exactly how to do it.
You’ll learn 5 strategies that will help you maximize the number of referrals you get.
But before we dive in, let’s look at what happens to companies that fail to make themselves referral worthy.
The Real Cost of Not Caring About Referrals
Two years ago, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association reported that approximately 2.4 billion brand-related conversations happen every day.
Most of those are people telling others about a great experience they had with a product or a service.
And they work.
These conversations influence buying choices and decisions.
For example, according to another research by Nielsen Group, 84% of people trust referrals from people they know.
What’s more, the Wharton School of Business research revealed that the lifetime value of a referred customer is 16% higher, compared to clients you attract through other channels.
It’s no surprise that everyone in the business agrees that referrals are critical to a business’ sales success.
Not to mention that they attract the highest quality leads.
But the real cost of not caring about referrals shows when you reverse those numbers. Here, take a look at what happens when you fail to make your IT company referral-worthy:
- You miss out on countless conversations your customers have with their network. Even if we assume moderately that only .1% of brand-related conversations a day focus on IT, that still leaves you with over 2 million of them.
- You fail to capitalize on the most effective method of advertising.
- Your MSP company must work harder at increasing the LTV per each client. After all, most of your leads offer a 16% lower LTV than referred users.
- And overall, you attract a poorer quality leads.
So, let’s see how you could prevent this.
5 Strategies to Make Your IT Company More Referral-Worthy
First, let’s talk about why you should even care about any of the strategies below.
For one, because contrary to what many IT providers believe, doing a great job is not enough to entice a client to talk about you.
In fact, you could be the best IT company they’ve ever worked with. The success rate of projects you undertake could far exceed what anyone else they’ve ever hired did.
BUT … something about you might be preventing them from referring you. Perhaps there’s a quirk that rubs them the wrong way. As a result, they might feel it will do the same to anyone they’ll refer you to.
Note that it doesn’t stop them from working with you. But because of this one thing, they might never tell anyone else about you.
Below you’ll find a list of the most common quirks that prevent clients from referring you.
Although it might seem a small thing, a vendor who’s constantly late to meetings or calls will put clients off from recommending them.
And that’s even if you’re late a couple of minutes or less.
That’s because tardiness sends a strong negative signal about your commitment. It tells clients that, to you, their relationship isn’t the most important. And naturally, your customers don’t want anyone else to feel this way.
So, whenever you or a client set up a call or meeting, arrive a minute before the scheduled time.
If you’re constantly in a rush, use tools like iOS Reminders or Any.Do on Android to schedule timely reminders on your phone.
#2. Missing Project Milestones
Your clients are rarely happy when you miss a big project milestone, even if the delay doesn’t affect the project.
Constantly pushing milestones often looks like chaos to a client. As a result, they feel under constant pressure, wondering if you complete the overall project on time.
This pressure results in them not feeling you are referral-worthy. Simply.
On the other side, working with an IT vendor who always meets milestones, and manages project completion smoothly is comforting to clients.
They know that they can rely on them every single time.
That feeling of reassurance results in greater trust in a vendor. This, in turn, makes it so much easier to recommend the IT company to someone else.
If you’re struggling with milestones regularly, consider changing your approach to project management.
Tools like Asana, Projectplace or Workzone help organize and schedule work so that projects run smoothly, in spite of potential roadblocks along the way.
#3. Not Owning the Project
Another factor that determines how reliable you seem to clients is owning a project.
A person who owns a project doesn’t need a lot of direction from clients. Instead, they guide the project. Using their experience and expertise, they ensure a smooth completion.
If you’re the opposite, if you’re constantly looking at clients to make a decision, you’re creating an image of someone who needs to be held by the hand.
And again, this isn’t a quality that will entice clients to recommend you to others.
#4. Pushing Back
This quirk relates closely to the one we just discussed above.
For many IT vendors, when a client fails or delays providing information they’ve requested, the work simply stops.
They’ve asked for some additional information and see no point in carrying on without it.
From a client’s perspective, they push the responsibility for the delays in the project back to them.
This often happens when a company needs to shift engineers’ schedules to deliver all projects it has running at the same time. Pushing back feels like an opportunity to move staff to work another project until a client responds with the relevant information.
In practice, however, this makes a company look unprofessional. Plus, it puts the blame on the client, which isn’t how you’re supposed to make them feel.
The alternative? Request the information but instead of waiting, keep working on other parts of the project, if possible.
#5. Have a Friendly and Helpful Attitude
How attitude affects referrals like nothing else.
Here, let me show you. Last year, one of our clients realized that they weren’t getting any referrals. What’s more, some clients were showing signs of discontent with the company and hinted at possibly thinking of leaving them.
Eventually, our client discovered a reason. Every time clients rang the office close to the end of the day, an engineer on call would grumble and moan about it.
Now, he would still help a client. He’d always solve their problem as fast as he could. But he’d moan about it to no end.
To cut the story short, they rectified the issue, and not long after, referrals started pouring in. Unfortunately, before that happened, they did lose a major client.
All because of the wrong attitude.
Now, had the engineer’s attitude were different, the company would enjoy more referrals and returning business.
Many small things might be causing clients to feel like that too:
- Not returning calls or emails promptly.
- Engineers who show irritation when a support call stops them at the door in the evening.
- Not putting enough effort into assisting clients and much more.
Pay attention to those and eliminate them when they happen.
Even a small change in attitude will make a huge difference to how likely customers will be to recommend you.
Nothing grows a business as fast as referrals.
Unfortunately, providing quality service isn’t enough to entice customers to recommend you.
To do so, you need to make yourself referral-worthy. In practice, this means eliminating small quirks that might make clients not want to refer you.
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