When a prospect calls, we always find out how they heard about us, or why they chose us. Then, we (subtly) let them know that most of our work comes via referral. This does two things: it lets them know that our clients think highly enough of our services to refer us and also plants the seed in their mind that they, too will likely refer us business.
Whenever someone refers us business, whether it turns into a client or not, we always reach out and thank them in a personal way that will resonate with them. We want them to know how much we appreciate their faith in us, and keep them posted on the progress of the prospect. Not only is this common courtesy, it also opens up a line of communication between the prospect and the referring client. The client is very likely to follow up with the prospect to see how the meeting went…and answer any questions the prospect may have (that they didn’t feel comfortable asking us). Again, this reinforces the quality of our service from an unbiased third party.
Finally, all throughout a client engagement we have regular ‘check-ins’ to ensure that the project is going as well as they’d hoped. We always try to over-deliver. We don’t want clients to simply be happy, we want them to be thrilled.
It’s been our experience that business owners tend to know other business owners (whether through EO, Vistage, TAB, church or a golf club), and they like to share success stories (maybe even more than they enjoy sharing horror stories). This not only reinforces their relationship with us… it often turns in to new prospects who know exactly what to expect when they call.