Friday, November 9, 2012

Teach Your Clients to Refer You, and Reward Them for Doing it!

We all use some sort of referral program in our business to get new clients. However, are you educating your client on how the referral program works, or are you just stuffing a certificate in their bag with the hopes they'll actually read it? It's a shame to have invested your time, effort and money into printing beautiful referral cards if they're not even getting noticed.

It's a bit like the grocery store receipt. There are coupons on the back, but unless you actually look at them, you probably can't name more than 1 advertiser. Why not? You know what you bought, so why look at the junk in the bottom of the bag? It's probably just advertising . . .

In order for our clients to be good referral sources, we first need to ask them for the referrals and let them know the WIFM factor (What's in it For Me?)

"Mary, when you show your portraits to your friends, they're going to ask you where you had them created. Now, I know you always tell people that I'm your photographer and I hope you know I appreciate your referrals, but I want to do something more than that for you. So . . . for every person you refer to me (and uses this referral card) they're going to get $50 in print credits when they reserve a session with me! AND . . . for each one of these that comes back to my studio, I'll reward you with a $50 studio gift card as well!

When you get home, please take a minute and think of 1 or 2 of your friends who might be in the market for beautiful portraits of their family . . . and then pass these cards along to them. It's a win-win-win for all of us!"

I'm simply using the print credit as an example, but you can substitute whatever offer works best in your own studio or scenario.

You're thinking "But I could never actually ask people for more business . . . I think it makes me sound desperate!"

First, asking for business doesn't sound desperate in a situation such as this. You're simply reminding them to let their friends know that you'd like to be their photographer as well, and dangling a little carrot as incentive.

However, if you're not comfortable with actually saying the words out loud, you can always drop the certificate in the mail a couple of days after they pick up their completed. It gives you one more opportunity to thank the client, and your thank-you note can ask / explain the referral program.

It doesn't matter how you do it . . . just THAT you remember to ask! 

- David


  1. This is great! I do a terrible job at asking my clients to refer me out. Something I really need to work on in the new year.

  2. Very good insight. I use this and its always a winner!

  3. I have a current referral program in place, thank you for the reminder to let ALL my clients know about it!

  4. This is great! I need to start doing this!