The Next Best Thing to a Direct Referral

There’s a school of thought about customer loyalty surveys that contends all you really need to ask your customer is “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”.  See the Satmetrix Netpromoter site for more information.

The concept is very intuitive, simple and compelling.  Typically, when we think of how to use current clients to “sell” to new clients, we think of referrals.  And that’s exactly how we professional services folks often gain new clients.  A current client gets asked who does their marketing, accounting or executive search and they pass along your name.  That’s obviously the strongest type of direct endorsement we can get.

There’s another less-direct type of endorsement: the testimonial.  Getting a client to agree to offer a quote, participate in a case study or be interviewed in your customer newsletter or on your blog isn’t always easy but can be almost as powerful as a direct referral.  The bigger the company, the more difficult it can be to get this type of endorsement.  But it’s always worth asking for one.

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