You can greatly enhance your word-of-mouth based business by designing creative incentives for people to give you referrals. Yet of all the key techniques for making the system work, wanting to give referral rewards bonuses to individuals who pass out your business cards and obtain new clients for your business seems to frustrate others the most.
Historically, finder’s fees or referral rewards have been used as an incentive for giving someone referrals. Although finder’s fees can be appropriate, I don’t believe they are necessarily the best technique to employ in most situations. Here is an excellent example of a non-monetary incentive system:
Sign of the Times
Years ago I went to my chiropractor for a routine adjustment. Several weeks before, I had referred a friend to him who had recently been in an accident. As I walked into the waiting room, I noticed a bulletin board that was displayed prominently on the wall. The bulletin board read, “We would like to thank the following patients for referring someone to us last month.”
Actually, there was nothing unusual about this sign. It had been there on each of my previous visits, except this time my name was posted on it. I took notice and was pleased, but didn’t give it a second thought, until a month later, when I returned and saw that my name was no longer on it. Instantly I thought, Who else can I refer to the doctor so that my name will be put back up on the board? For the record, I did come up with another referral for the good doctor.
Something like this may not work for everyone. But if it worked on me, I’m sure it will have a positive effect on others. The key is to select several incentive options so as to impact as many people as possible.