Referrals and Reputation: Part 2

Part 2: Growth Through Referability

The start to finish experience you provide your customers is crucial to your company’s referability. It is what drives someone to promote you, or your products, or your service to someone else. Referability is what sets you apart from your competitors.

I am often asked what can I do to make our company referable? When faced with this question, I always give the same answer. Practice the Referability Habits™. This is one of the many great tools I have learned from my time at Strategic Coach.

The Benefits of Referability

Quality being equal, it is the development and practice of your referability habits that will set your company apart. The greater your referability, the more willing customers will be to recommend you to their peers. Those habits are:

• Show up on time.
• Do what you say you’ll do.
• Finish what you start.
• Do everything in a courteous manner.

When someone makes a referral it’s because they have benefited from the product or service. They feel so strongly about the benefit they received, they want to pass that advantage on to someone else. Most people do not make referrals without careful consideration and supreme confidence. After all it is their reputation on the line as well yours.

So, how do you gain their confidence?

Let’s look at service and response time as an example. Consumers have come to rely on fast responses, if not an immediate ones. However, there are times when immediacy just isn’t possible.

At GCP we learned as long as we communicate with our customers, set reasonable expectations, and keep them updated on the status of their issue, they’re happy. That means even if we don’t have the exact answer to the question, we reply with something like “we’re working on it and will get back shortly.” This little piece of validation goes a long way in eliminating potential frustrations.

Remember, it’s likely your customers have made commitments to their customers. You want to ask yourself, are you helping them achieve those commitments or hindering them? If your customer has committed to a 24 hour response time to their customers, then your communication to them is of the utmost importance even if that communication is just to say “we don’t know yet.” Any update is far better than silence.

When we keep our customers informed, they have peace of mind and can operate their business smoothly. In turn, providing peace of mind vastly attributes to your referability.

Maintaining a Culture of Referability

When people choose a new vendor they look at your website, read your testimonials, and they talk to their peers. Nothing beats a customer referral when you’re trying to earn new business – as GCP learned early on. To get those referrals, You have to build referability into your organization, so everyone knows what needs to be done to achieve it.

At GCP we go over the referability habits with new employees, and celebrate them. That doesn’t mean just celebrating when we secure new business. We also celebrate the little successes that come as a result of practicing the habits. This shows the team what behaviors are expected and that those behaviors will be rewarded.

Growth Via Referability

We have an excellent relationship with a customer in the mid-west. They were looking for a particular product, and we were able to develop it for them. However, when the product was delivered, it was not up to their, or our standards. Because our reputation had always been good, they said, “We’ll stick with you and give you time to work the issues out with this one particular product. When you figure it out, come back to us.”

Due to our pre-existing history and the way we responded to the issue, they were willing to work through the issue and not abandon us for another vendor.

In fact, our conduct gave them the confidence to refer us to other divisions of their company. I know much of our growth comes from providing both excellent products and service together. They didn’t refer us with reluctance; they recommend us with confidence because of their experience with us.

As you prepare for 2018, think about the ways you can promote the referability habits in your own company. How will you ensure you:

• Show up on time.
• Do what you say you’ll do.
• Finish what you start.
• Do everything in a courteous manner.

Until Next Time
Gary


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