One of the most powerful tools a salesperson or marketer can have in their tool belt (repertoire) is a satisfied customer. To be more specific, that customer’s referral. In this age of information overload, the world at your fingertips, and grade schooler’s leveraging technology on a collegiate level, this time tested method of a personal referral still takes the cake.

As I’m home cooking dinner, thinking of how to bait my hook for the ever intimidating and unseen “online fish”, my 5th grader calls me over to proudly show off her completed homework assignment.

I half-heartedly leave the meal simmering on the stove to give her a mother’s attention and encouragement on her accomplishment she is glowing about. As I approach the laptop set up on my dining room table, she has me take a seat.

I immediately regret not turning the stove lower. Then my 11-year-old proceeds to show me the Power Point presentation she has prepared for her school report. My mouth drops open, thinking how I only became familiar with this program in the last 5 years.

The realization is; the curve is way too sharp, and the information super highway much too fast. It’s impossible to remain at the front of the race for very long at all, aside from tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and the likes. It’s time to get back to basics. Where have the conversions been coming from? The ROI? While of course remaining up to date is necessary to be relevant as an e-commerce business in an internet age world, let’s not overlook the bottom line. Dollar signs.

Some would say asking for a customer referral can be an intimidating process at first. It may even go against your instinct to ask for a person to “put in a good a word” for you. However, this is not only one of the easiest, most organic ways to gain new business, you will reap the benefits. There are graphs, charts and information galore at the very tip of your googling fingers!

But can I say, the proof is in the pudding? Information from Forbes to will tell you, customer’s speaking on your behalf are among the most trusted sources of brand information and are most likely to act on those recommendations alone when making a purchase.

How can you get more referrals?

Most customers make one referral, but you can improve your referral rate by focusing on those customers who make several referrals.

When a customer gives you a referral, take note of what method worked. For example, if someone gives you an email referral, continue contacting them by email for additional referrals throughout the year.

You can also increase your success rate by focusing on customers whose referrals converted to sales.

People are more likely to utilize companies that their friends and colleagues rave about. If Travis referred Tom to your pool cleaning business after you cleaned Travis’s pool, and Tom asks you to clean his pool as well, the friends they have in common will see both pools and be more likely to use your business when they need this service.

Maintain an active presence on social media.

The more active your pool cleaning business is on social media, the more likely you are to be top of mind with a customer when a friend or colleague starts to talk about wanting to redo his backyard. Post useful content, like maintenance tips, or content that shows your skill, like photos of your customers’ finished pools.

Connect with past customers, especially those who have referred more than one person to you. These “super-referrers” are generally influencers within their own social circles (or like to think of themselves that way), making them more apt to give you additional referrals.

Incentives don’t hurt when it comes to getting more referrals for your business.

If you’re worried that you’ll be giving away a lot of gift cards or free merchandise for referrals that don’t pan out to sales, restrict your incentives to referrals that lead to an actual sale.

This is an accepted procedure, especially in the B2B world.

You can also tailor the incentive to the customer, depending on how familiar you are with your buyer, you can probably tell if they’d be more likely to appreciate a gift card or free merchandise from your business.

90% of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth from their friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Also, 70% of them trust other consumers’ opinion posted online.

52% of these people prefer a gift card via the method of incentive. These numbers alone are gold and speak volumes about the power of this (sometimes disregarded) marketing channel.

USfastprint Amazon Rewards Program. Why not get paid while promoting your business?