February 2, 2023

How to sell to SMBs: Referrals

SMBs are tough to reach. Small business owners are extremely busy managing the day to day responsibilities and problems of their own business, making selling to them very difficult.

One way to get an SMB’s attention is through referrals - your customers may not trust you yet but they (usually? hopefully?) trust their friends and family. In fact, 82% of people have said they ask for recommendations from friends and family before buying a new solution. This makes referral marketing one of the most lucrative marketing strategies for any company. Here are some quick tips on how to get started:

1. Get your customer’s attention

Your customers may love you, but you know what they love even more?

Asking your customers for referrals is asking them to put their name and reputation on the line to promote your company. This is a BIG ask so make sure your customers are properly motivated and nothing motivates like some real hard $$$. 

2. Get the prospect’s attention

Similarly, any prospects your customers refer also need proper motivation. We suggest giving them a “time-sensitive” incentive to create a sense of urgency to get them to act now.

Balancing both sides (customers and prospects) of the referral flywheel can lead to explosive results. Dropbox's referral program fueled years of massive growth.

3. Make it super easy for your customers to refer people

Your customers are busy. They don’t have time to play “telephone,” so asking them to memorize different promo codes and secret phrases is asking for a lot of mental time and energy.

Instead, make referring people as simple as possible - a straight forward “copy and paste” or “enter an email here” should be enough. Like everything sales-related, every step adds friction and will directly impact your results.

If you make the referral process super easy then your customers can spend the extra time and energy referring people to you!

4. Make your referral program “social media friendly”

Sharing is caring and sharing on social media is the fastest and easiest way for your customers to quickly let their entire networks know about your referral program.

Look how successful sharing on social media was for Wordle

Make your referral program easy to share on social media and let Facebook and Instagram do the work for you.

5. Partner with super “influencers”

Influencers come in many shapes and sizes and many industries have their own specific “super influencers” that you may be able to partner with. Do your customers have:

  • Companies / success stories that they look up to?
  • Groups, networks, or industry associations?
  • Federal or state regulatory bodies?
  • Industry newsletters and other publications?

Find the super influencers in your industry and partner with them.

6. Regularly remind your customers about your program

How often do you recommend a new product to your network? Usually only when someone asks you for help and these conversations typically happen spontaneously and unexpectedly. Thus, you need to constantly remind your customers about your referral program to catch them at the right time. 

So make sure your referral program is top of mind for your customers - add reminders to your website, mention it every time you interact etc. Make sure the next time someone asks for a recommendation your customers remember your program.

Selling to SMBs can be hard. Let your current SMB customers make the process a bit easier for you :) 

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