I talked about a client referral system in my last blog post and have since found some things that help reinforce this. The first is not so much about a referral system but about rules for making a good impression. It provides seven practical suggestion on how to improve you chances of being remembered and regarded. One example is to respond to emails and voice mail within 24 hours.
Also linked in that document is an audio entitled Instituting a Client Appreciation Program, which is only about ten minutes long and really worth a listen. I liked the concept about how you may think that you are doing an excellent job but if you are only doing what you are paid for then that’s all you’ll be judged on. In this day and age, where finding another business to service any need is so easy you need to spend time developing a program that ensures you recognize your customers and drive them to refer you to more business.
In my experience with small businesses investments in traditional marketing like print media, email newsletters and so on don’t garner anywhere near the results of referrals. It is still worth pursuing some traditional marketing options but for my money you are much better off developing an effective client referral system as your number one marketing tool.