They’re asking for referrals

If you’ve ever worried that a disproportionate number of your leads come from referrals, then you’re not alone. I think most agencies feel this way.

Of course, it’s always a good thing when you can diversify your lead sources. If you’re getting referrals, and organic traffic, and you have a paid ads system that gets results, and you’re regularly networking, and you feel comfortable doing outbound sales — well, that’s going to go a long way in making sure your agency is stable.

If you have 5 good sources of leads, and one drops off, you still have 4 good sources of leads!

But if referrals is your only source (or the one that brings in the vast majority of leads), and it dies off — then what?

It’s a scary thing to think about and I understand why it gives agency owners like us anxiety.

But the truth is, most people who are having a website built are asking for referrals — so it would make sense that most of our leads come from that source.

The fact is, our industry isn’t held in the highest regard. There’s no barrier of entry and no qualifications needed — which means anyone can open up a web shop. Those who have no business doing so (and end up screwing customers) have severely damaged the industry’s reputation.

One way the market deals with an industry like this is to rely heavily on their friends, family, and connections to give them a good recommendation.

It’s the same reason when someone new to my neighborhood moves in, they always post in our neighborhood Facebook group “Who does everyone here use for internet?”. ISP’s don’t have the best reputation either — so it’s a lot safer to just ask (even if you’re asking complete strangers).

Referrals are gold, but often underutilized — as most people kind of let referrals happen, and aren’t taking a proactive approach. This means you probably have room to strengthen your referral game and bring in even more!

Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Get really clear on what you do and who you serve. It’s a lot easier for people to refer you if they know exactly who to send your way (it also helps with organic leads!).
  2. Encourage people to make referrals to you. One good way is to build in an email to our client offboarding (when a project is complete) to let your clients know you are happy to take good care of their friends and family too.
  3. Network, network, network. Referrals can be a bit of a numbers game — the more people you know (and who know what you do) increase the odds you’ll get referrals.
  4. Be known as genuinely helpful. I’m not suggesting you work for free, but being the kind of person that always is willing to help also makes you the kind of person people like referring to.
  5. Feature your reviews and clients. Some referrals are silent — an organic lead can see they have a mutual connection through one of your clients and instantly feel a sense of trust (this is one of the main reasons people are successful with LinkedIn — it’s easy to see all those connections).

Yes, more sources is better — but it’s worth putting a little extra effort into the sources you already know work. My guess is there is still a lot of juice left in that squeeze for all of us.

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