"how to make customers happy"Creating champions from your fans is all about creating a strong referral system for your business. And what better time to create a system than during MAKE A REFERRAL Week!

Although businesses benefit greatly from referrals how many of us actually have a SYSTEM to cultivate those referrals from your best sources? In my opinion, there are two kinds of referral sources. One comes from FANS. FANS are those who love your product and service and might occasionally tell someone about you. FANS like or love doing business with you but either don’t know that you want more business or think of sending business your way. They might refer someone if she or he asks for a referral.

The other type of referral comes from your CAMPIONS. Champions not only love what you do, they like to tell others about your products and services. They have either memorized your phone number or have it in their cell phone, PDA or speed dial. Close at hand to share with others.

How can small business owners cultivate your champions? First identify who they are. Write down your top 20-25 best customers – those you know have referred you in the past. Then create a plan to stay in touch with them. Us offline marketing tactics like: calling them, emailing them, sending them thank you notes, small gifts, flowers, tickets to events, buying them lunch, entering them in special drawings.

The important thing here is to stay at the top of their minds. Show them how much you appreciate any referrals they send your way.  Us the referral for your small business as another way to solidify the relationship by practicing your offline marketing skills. Doing so will encourage your CHAMPIONS to keep sending business your way. In part 2, we will share the steps to take to turn your FANS into CHAMPIONS. Happy Make a Referral Week!