One of the greatest ways to gain new clients are through referrals. It is often underestimated, neglected, or not used to its fullest potential. If used correctly, you will find that referrals are one of the best source of no cost marketing that barely requires any work from yourself…besides becoming referral worthy. Find out what referral marketing is and how you can use it effectively in any business endeavor you have.
What is a referral?
A referral is basically a recommendation by a person, whoÂ has experienced your product or service, to another person.
How can you apply it to your babysitting business?
All you need is one person to experience yourÂ extraordinaryÂ service and, like a tree, will branch out to other referrals. If you did such a great job watching the child/ren of one client, odds are, they will most likely tell their friends about it. The best part about referrals is that clients may casually bring up your name in a conversation with friends because you made such an impression and before you know it, the friend is asking for your contact info – and it’s free marketing!
5 Ways to Gain Referrals
You should be worth talking about – in a good way
Referrals only works if you make a lasting impression that is news worthy. Think of each babysitting job as a referral opportunity. This will encourage you to do your best every time. People will talk about you only in two different cases: 1. you did such a fantastic job and made their lives so much easier they just had to tell their friends all about it or 2. they had such a horrendous experience with you and had to tell their friends about the nightmare they endured.
Maintain your credibility
You should always try to be great at your job. Just because your client referred you to someone else, does not mean you can slack off. It just takes one bad experience for them to turn their positive feedback into a sour one.
Make it easy for others to refer you
The last thing you want is for this to happen:
Client: I have a great babysitter you should look into.
Client’s friend: Oh really? Can I have her contact details?
Client: Sure! … oh wait, I don’t have her number on me, I’ll give it to you next time.
Chances are, next time they see each other, you will be the last thing on their mind. To avoid this, have business cards prepared and give, not one, but at least two of your business cards to your clients. Don’t be afraid to say to them, “Here’s an extra one – in case you have friends who are also looking for a sitter.”
Follow up with your clients
If your client’s do not require your services anymore, it’s still perfectly fine to call them up from time to time. It’s typical for babysitter’s to grow strong bonds with the kids you sit and it’s okay to call up and see how they’re doing. That is what makes a great babysitter, when you think of babysitting as taking care of Susie or Bobby instead of it being “just a job”.
When you call up your clients, be genuine about it. Don’t just say, “Hi, how are the kids? Great. Do you know anyone who is looking for a babysitter?”. Going straight to the point may throw off your client and they’ll most likely be thinking about the odd call they received from you rather than your request to refer you to their friends.
Ask for it
Asking for referrals might be the most difficult thing for people to do, because they are simply embarrassed to do so. People are sensitive to the idea of self-promotion because they don’t want to seem too upfront, pushy, or annoying. (Kind of like the people in the mall trying to sell you those nail buffers.)
It all depends on how you ask it, if you try to sound pushy, then yes, your clients may think you’re being too pushy. But a simple, “If it’s not too much trouble, if you know anyone who is looking for a babysitter, would you please give them my contact info? I would appreciate it a lot. Thank you!” is not upfront at all. There’s no harm in trying, it’s better than not trying altogether.
So what do you think? Are you going to try asking your clients for some referrals? Do you have any good lines you use to ask for referrals? Share them with the SitterSource community!