For a divorce services business, or any type of service business, referrals are critical to success. Paul and Sarah Edwards, who authored the book Getting Business to Come to You, state that up to 45% of most service businesses are selected by customers based on the recommendations of others. The popularity of such sites as yelp.com and tripadvisor.com demonstrate that many people pay attention to such recommendations. Client referrals are powerful marketing channels because they come from people who have experienced for themselves the benefits of working with you.
Referrals from satisfied clients are vitally important; but sometimes small business owners overlook another very important source of referrals – their friends and acquaintances.
While it’s true that your friends know your character and can vouch for you personally, do they really know exactly what you do in your business? If not, it’s time to educate them! You probably have your “30 second elevator speech” ready to tell people you have just met about what it is you do, but you’ll want to expand on this a little when talking with your friends and acquaintances. Take the time to explain to them how you help your clients, and what type of person can benefit from your assistance. Tell success stories about how you helped some people get through their divorce in the best way possible. This will build a mental picture to clarify the mission of your divorce services business.
Once they have this picture in mind, most of your friends will want to help you succeed in your business – but they usually don’t know how. Let them know that they can help you by spreading the word to those whom you might be able to help. Give them a handful of your business cards to hand out when appropriate. In conversations within their own circle of friends, perhaps someone will mention that a person they know is planning to divorce. This would be a time when your friend could mention your business, tell them about what you do and how you can help, and offer your contact information. In this way, people you know can be some of your best sources of referral clients.
Make a list of people in your social and business networks whom you know personally. Think about people you know from recreational activities, clubs, school activities, religious affiliations, hobby groups, volunteer organizations, business groups, and so on. Don’t forget neighbors and family members. Then plan a time when you can get together to talk with them – and if they also have a business or job that depends on getting new clients, ask for more information about what they do and offer to spread the word for them as well.
In addition to clients, friends, associates, and family members, another source of referrals are people who are related in some way to your profession or have complementary businesses. For example, professionals such as attorneys, mediators, therapists, and counselors may come across people in their own business in need of the divorce planning and legal services you provide. Conversely, you would be in a position to provide referrals to them when your own clients have need of their services. This type of cross-promotion can be a valuable marketing asset to both businesses. It’s a way to get credible introductions to clients in a cost-effective (free!) way that is more effective than “solo” methods of advertising.
The divorce facilitators in the Divorce With Dignity Network have used this cross-promotion method of getting referrals with great success. Part of our service to our clients is to provide them with unlimited referrals to other professional services they may need to get through various aspects of the divorce process as smoothly as possible. In turn, we often get referrals from these business professionals as well. We also understand the importance of word-of-mouth advertising from our former clients and from friends and colleagues. We strive to give our clients the best possible service, and feel honored when they recommend us to others.
If you would like to learn more about becoming part of the Divorce With Dignity Network, please visit our Peaceful Divorce Business website.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.
photo credit: Rushtips.com