Generating referrals from existing clients can grow your business significantly if you’re willing to dedicate enough time and resources to the effort. MSPs without marketing funds to allocate to other types of MSP marketing strategies — including content marketing, SEO, and influencer marketing — benefit from client referrals when the strategy behind the effort is well thought out and properly executed.
Time and time again, businesses have generated new business from client referrals — and here’s why: You typically trust the opinions of the people you associate yourself with on a regular basis. For example, more than 83 percent of people completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family, according to a Nielson study.
Yet while many MSPs already are aware of this, they may still struggle to generate referrals from existing clients.
There are several ways MSPs can increase business referrals from existing clients.
Want to generate more MSP referrals? Give your clients reasons to refer your services to their networks. Do you exceed expectations? Are you responsive to client needs? Do you deliver on your promises? Your clients aren't going to refer you if you don’t provide value, so highlight your worth when you can.
You’re not entitled to referrals. You earn them by going above and beyond for your clients. Remember: Your clients are focused on running their businesses, not marketing yours. For a client to refer your services to another business, you must make it worth their time, and even when you do, your client often won’t take the initial step to refer you until after you’ve highlighted the path.
Did You Bother to Ask?
Many MSP owners forget simply to ask their clients for referrals. These business owners oftentimes get too caught up in operating their own businesses. Instead of seeking ways to generate new business, they focus their efforts on existing customers, which makes sense — retaining a customer costs less than acquiring a new one. (Learn more about customer retention in our article: MSP Customer Retention: 5 Best Practices to Reduce the Churn.) But as a business owner, one of your top responsibilities is bringing in new business, so why not turn your clients into brand advocates to decrease the amount of time you’re spending on pitching to prospects?
You don’t have to schedule a time to ask your clients for referrals. It should be something you do on an ongoing basis. When you begin working with a new client, initiate a conversation about referrals. When a client praises you for something you’ve done, ask for referrals. When you save client money after identifying vulnerabilities and mitigating risks, ask for referrals. The only way you’re going to get high-quality MSP referrals is by asking. And when you receive them, always express your gratitude.
Thank Clients When They Send Business Your Way
Building your referral business takes time, but as it grows and generates top-quality leads for your business, don’t forget to thank those solely responsible for its success along the way — your clients.
Your clients — like you — value their relationships, which they’ve developed over time. As Berkshire Hathaway CEO and self-made billionaire Warren Buffett once said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you'll do things differently.” Your clients aren’t willing to jeopardize their reputations by recommending subpar services, so when clients send business your way, they’re signaling their approval of your work to their networks.
When they do this for you, be grateful. Show your appreciation to your clients when they refer you to their networks. While this may sound obvious, there are MSP owners who forget the following point: Clients aren’t required to refer your services elsewhere. Always thank them when they do. You don’t have to go out of your way to say thanks. Simply stop what you’re doing, call the client up, and say, “Thank you.”
If you’re delivering results to your clients, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little additional support — just be sure you exceed their expectations, set yourself up for the ask, and thank them.