When you offer any type of discount or novelty item as an incentive program for referrals, keep in mind what your cost would be to generate a new client from scratch. These costs include the cost of printed literature, advertisements, sales calls, telephone time, meetings, appointments, and so forth. You can readily see that the cost of gaining a new client through a referral incentive program is almost always lower.
Incentive programs also help you sell more products or services more frequently to your existing customer base; again, these are sales that are generated at a far lower marketing cost and effort. No matter what form of incentive program you use, the fact that you offer incentives means that your potential for generating word-of-mouth business will increase. The question is, what type of incentive will work for you?
Some health care professionals offer a free visit when a referral becomes a new patient. Other business professionals send small gift baskets, bottles of wine, flowers, or certificates for their services or the services of other businesses in the community. Depending on the type of product or service you offer and the relationship with your referring parties, you may also employ the following:
Incentive Program Examples
- Free estimates, samples, or analyses
- Additional products or services for no extra cost
- Product or service discounts
- Product or service time extensions
- Extended telephone consultation privileges
- Extended or life memberships
- Exclusive or charter memberships
- Group discounts
- Extended warranties
- Reduced costs on peripheral items or services.
Creativity is the key to any good incentive program. People just naturally like to help each other, but especially when they know their efforts are successful. Let your contact know when a referral he or she has made comes through, and be as creative as you can.