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Fuel Up Your Business…With Customer Referrals

By , March 23, 2012
With the price of gas beginning to climb quickly, motorists across the USA are anxiously keeping their eyes on the pump – and on their wallets.

A quick search on websites like AOL and Yahoo show that articles about minimizing  gas expenses are all the rage now, ranging from lengthy op-ed pieces touting fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles to small news tidbits reminding you to keep your car tires properly inflated.

But there is one money-saving gasoline tip that I didn’t see on those websites. It involves a very simple action that can instantly help reduces the price of your next gas station visit: refer a friend to the Western States Insurance Company.

According to the advertisements for this Montana-based insurance agency, it’s part of a campaign called the “Refer-A-Friend Program” which encourages customers to have their friends call in for free insurance quotes, and it reads as follows: “When your friends call for a quote and mention your name, we’ll send you a $10 Gas Card as a thank you. You’ll also be entered into our Annual Grand Prize Drawing for a $500 gas card!”

Now I know that some people may think this blatant attempt to generate customer referrals is an absolute waste of money – but the business professors at Harvard University seem to think otherwise. According to the Harvard Business Review, having a customer referral program in place can be strikingly profitable.

A team of Harvard business experts studied 10,000 accounts in a large German bank over a period of three years, and found that customers obtained through referrals are both more loyal and more valuable than other customers. In fact, referred customers are, on average, about 18% more likely than others to stay with the bank…and they generate 16% more in profits compared to non-referred customers.

The Harvard study concludes that referral programs would be most beneficial for products and services that customers might not appreciate at first glance, and particularly in industries where it’s hard to identify valuable prospects.

Of course, even those of us who haven’t attended Harvard recognize the importance of making sure that a referrals program is a part of your follow up process – and how much easier it is to sell to someone that was referred to you by a satisfied customer. Here are a few Ptex Practical Pointers to help your referral program become more successful:

  • Reap The Rewards: Encourage customers to refer friends by enticing them with different rewards, from gas cards to BBQ grills to actual cash in their pocket
  • Carry The Card: Provide customers with discounted referral cards that they can give to friends as  a present – the customer will appear generous, the friend will save money, and you’ll get more business
  • Thanks For Thanking: To generate even more referrals and leads, be sure to thank every customer for their business and always express your genuine appreciation for their loyalty

So there you have it – three great ways to boost your customer referrals.

And by the way, if you have any friends or business associates that you’d like to refer to Ptex Group, simply reply to this email. Keep in mind that you needn’t feel obligated to respond. But as everyone knows, the referral doesn’t come unless you ask…which is why we just did.

P.S. Do you have a referral for Ptex Group? Let us know about people who may need our services – and we’ll let you know if we have any referrals for your business as well.

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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