We have all heard the phrase that "word of mouth" is your best advertising and when referrals come my way for our property management software, I feel like I'm one step ahead in closing a sales lead.
While I still consult with the Google Gods and knowledgeable online advice columns for online services and products, I still will put weight with a trusted referral, and I'd wager a bet, you might too. Running over the services/products I've consulted a trusted friend/associate about in the last 3 months prior to purchase, I was surprised with my list:
1. Desktop computer 7. Restaurant
2. Laptop 8. Solar Panels
3. Tablet 9. Nutrition/Fitness
4. Loan Officer 10. Physician
5. Software 11. Education
6. Hair Stylist 12. Veterinarian
And the number of times I've been asked personally for a referral in the last three months is in the double digits. After digging through some studies where some serious analytic were compiled (rather than my hunch feeling), it seems I'm not alone in my thinking.
Nielson offered up these stats you might find interesting:
84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends about products – making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness.
68% trust online opinions from other consumers, which is up 7% from 2007 and places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information.
Simple math tells me that Word-Of-Mouth is the cheapest and most productive form of advertising. Okay, that's great, but beyond having a load of friends and associates, how do I jump-start people talking about my business? If you're dealing with tenants, check out Kaycee's Rentec Direct blog article about Tenant Referrals.
The question of referral incentives takes me back to my time as a Leasing Agent for a luxury apartment complex. It was a fun job! I loved helping people find the perfect home and the challenge of high occupancy goals. But one of the awesome perks of my job were the freebies I scored through referral bonuses from local businesses. The business of offering referrals really caught on in our housing community as so many of my tenants turned to me for advice on services for and around their new home. People likened me to their own concierge and local businesses enjoyed the referrals I offered so in turn they gave me freebies to keep the referrals coming. Before I knew it, I had free cable service, free gym membership, free renter's insurance, free goodie baskets, free restaurant gift certificates, free carpet cleaning, etc. It was such a win-win! I loved sharing great finds, tenants liked the trusted advice, local businesses like the new customers. My simple algorithm for success... You-Scratch-My-Back-And-I'll-Scratch-Yours.
At Rentec Direct, we love hearing a customer sing our praises about a job well done. A "Boy Howdy!" can turn a regular day into a stellar one. And hopefully that glowing review gets passed on to friends and associates and we reap the rewards financially with new business. Beyond hope, what can we do to inspire people to share their love- story for our Landlord and Property Management Software? Having a solid strategy for referrals is key. And we'd love to have you cash in on ours!!! Click here for details on our affiliate bonus program!
More digging into the science of referrals revealed that those under 34 years old are 66% likely to respond with referrals based on social recognition (seeing your name in "bright lights" has a pull beyond Hollywood's stars, says Software Advice.) The same study indicated that 39% of referrals were prompted by monetary rewards (gifts, money, rebates, certificates.)
Geese, sounds a lot like my days as a Leasing Agent. Praise and treats. Sounds a lot like Pavlov's Dog, too. :)
Janell is a member of Rentec Direct, a web-based property management program designed to help streamline tenant screening and the day-to-day operations of landlords and property managers.