Customer loyalty and asking for the referral 

Did you know?

  • It costs a business 5 – 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it costs to sell to an existing one.*
  • On average, current customers spend 67% more than a new one.*
  • 65% of marketers have created a loyalty program to keep existing customers happy.*

This is great news, right?  All we need to do is keep customers happy and our businesses will remain profitable and our sales and marketing teams will have a lot less work without prospecting.

For many years, businesses relied on loyalty programs.  Customers earn points for more product or additional prizes as they spent more with that business.  It was a true win-win for everyone.  But, studies show that customers aren’t as loyal to loyalty programs as they used to be.  Forrester Research** reports that 1/3 of consumers say that loyalty programs don’t influence their purchase.

You know what does?  Friends, family, co-workers, siblings, colleagues and just about anyone that consumers know personally.  In fact, 92% of consumers said that they trust word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.***   These days, the #1 way people are finding out about, engaging with, and purchasing from your business is through interactions they have with the people closest to them in their lives.  Back in the day, we called that a referral program.  Today, we call it social incentive sharing.

And here is the icing on the cake – it is FREE!  Our motto is Ask, Reward and you Shall Receive.  Now, here are the a few tips on how to make it work:


Everyone has a referral program.  Even you. If you provide a product or service, your customers are telling other people about you.  Even if you aren’t asking them to.  So, why not ask?  The #1 reason that most people give for not formally recommending a business to a friend is because they are not asked.  Give them what they need to take that first step.  Simply ask them to share about you.  It is ok if they don’t, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the number of people that will.



You heard the expression, Nothing for nothing.  Well, if you don’t provide a reward or an incentive for customers to share with their friends, that is likely what you will get- nothing.  If you are saying to yourself right now, “feels like I am paying people to get me business,” please, stop it!  Providing an incentive for sharing falls completely in line with online coupons and customer specific deals.  It’s a game so make it fun.  Run contests, create sweepstakes for big prizes or give them special discounts for their own services.  You are not paying them for sharing.  You are creating game-like incentives to keep their interest and encouraging them to do something for you that they will likely do naturally in conversations and on late night Facebook sessions.



The bonuses to implementing a social incentive sharing are many!  At Expect Referrals, we have coined the results as:


social sharing effect expect referrals, social incentive sharing

*- HubSpot Blog, April 03,2012-Customer Loyalty Programs

**Forrester Research-Customer Loyalty Service Providers

***- Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q3 2011

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