Archive for Customer Relationship Management

Building an Effective Referral System

You have a strong passion for your business. Now the question is how to market your business efficiently to ensure it will grow and thrive. With all of the different marketing strategies available, it may be hard to choose where to focus your valuable time. Did you know that 65 percent of business comes from referrals? And you are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

Building a strong referral base not only creates customer loyalty but will help increase your bottom line and company’s reputation.

Here are a few basic ways to create an effective referral system:

Great Customer Service

One of the most important things you can do is provide outstanding service to your current customers. Make sure you have a quality team in place to help make each customer experience valuable. Happy, satisfied customers can be a strong voice for your business. Always give referral cards to each of your customers to encourage recommendations.

Create and Identify

Who is your ideal referral? Do you have current companies you refer business to? What companies are related to your products or services?  Identify and map out a list of people and sources motivated to refer you quality leads. Utilize current clients and networking sources, giving them tools to refer easily. Team up and market with companies related to you and swap referrals. Find out what motivates your sources to refer you business. Keep it simple and listen to those who are referring to you. They may give you insight on other sources to target for additional business.

Educate and Provide Incentive

Taking the time to educate your referral sources can increase the quality of the referrals received. Share what an ideal referral looks like for your business. What incentive is in it for them? Walk them through how the referral process works for your company. The extra time spent will help set you apart from everyone else knocking down their doors for business.

Follow Up Strategy

Keeping your referral sources informed and providing consistent follow up communication is important. Sharing the status of a referral received and following up with a big thank you when a lead turns into a client, shows appreciation you have for them supporting your business. Taking good care of your referral sources can lead to longevity in your business success.


What other ways have you been successful in getting more referrals for your business? Are there any strategies you would recommend when building an effective referral system?

Do I Really Need A CRM System?

Customer Relationship ManagementSome of my clients are very small “trades folks”, the guy or gal in a truck, with their tools and their craft.  They may have a team of up to 20 but for the most part they are a one-person show.

They will tell me I want a better website, facebook page, twitter account or some other new fancy social media tool.  It is exhausting! When I say where do you keep all your contacts?  I get a few different answers:

1)   I keep them in a notebook in my truck…gasp!

2)   They are in my billing system…that’s a little better

3)   I have them in my email…really?

4)   I have them written on sticky notes on my desk…uuuuuuugh!

You need a CRM Software (Customer Relationship Management). Satisfied customers and the growth of your business go hand in hand. To help your business grow it is high time you put in customer relationship management (CRM) software and browser based applications system to handle the management of your customer relationship in an organized manner.

Increasingly marketing and sales campaigns are online and run through social Media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter to name a few. You have to network with possible leads within your industry to improve your business.

Data will be collected from all over and from all your employees who network with your customers across all possible channels. It has to be accessible to your marketing and sales teams even if you outsource this function to someone like me Unless the data is organized and made available in a systematic manner, you cannot properly utilize it.

Lists of your customers have to be structurally maintained along with a marketing plan to communicate. Very useful for determining whether the launch of new product will be received favorably. A small survey now and then will help you assess the level of customer satisfaction and to take remedial action if necessary.

In a small business CRM helps in many ways.

  1. It helps you develop and measure marketing strategy with clear goals and objectives.
  2. CRM tracks good customers and targets them for your marketing.
  3. It generates sales leads who are genuinely interested in your business and turn them to prospective customers.
  4. CRM provides your employees with all the information required about your customers’ requirements. Obviously this leads to good relationship with customers.
  5. It helps you develop more personal customer relationship with your best customers providing them better service and cementing good customer relationship. By concentrating on the best customers you save on time, efforts and money with positive results in your profits.

Selecting the Right CRM

Now that you know CRM is a sound business investment before selecting and installing a CRM, do the following to ensure you are opting for the right system.

  1. The CRM system should be simple, easy to use and should integrate with your other systems.
  2. Opt for smaller and less sophisticated user friendly programs. Consult with a trusted advisor or colleague that has been using a system they like.  I have recommended a few but my main choice is a CRM called Hatchbuck.  You can visit them at
  3. An important factor is that data should be fed into the system by everyone. A system is only as good as the data it contains.
  4. Reports should be real time.
  5. Check whether your goals are being met.

Studies indicate a 29% increase in sales for organizations that have fully utilized CRM systems…So what are you waiting for?