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Kristen Tepper

Kristen Tepper Marketing and Operations Manager

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When and Where Should You Be Asking for Referrals!? Here are Your Top 7 Spots:

I recently added this into a forum post comment and realized that some more people might be wondering about this. Where is the best place to ask for a referral? It used to be simple, after they purchase - ask for a referral or maybe give them a call a few weeks later and ask. Definitely YES, those two options are prime time referral asking opportunities but now that we live in a digital era, there are A LOT more opportunities to connect and engage with your customer. Meaning there are a lot more opportunities to ask for a referral. 

I like to refer to all the best places to "ask for a referral" as touch points and I will preface this with my STRONG, STRONG opinion that a referral program is great, it's awesome, but without an offer of some kind.... some of these ideas can just fall flat... why? People are busy. The offer is the stickiness that you need to go above the competition and stay at the top of your customer's mind. PS: People prefer MOOLAH, according to a recent survey," 77% of Americans identify money as their reward of choice."

I know some dealers are hesitant/wary about the effective on ROI when combined with the reward amount but it's such an inaccurate/outdated way of thinking about it.  I love showing stats and blowing dealer's minds about ROI on referrals. Just look at PayPal: "By directly paying people to sign up and then paying them more to refer friends, we achieved extraordinary growth. This strategy cost us $20 per customer, but it also led to 7% daily growth, which meant that our base nearly doubled every 10 days." - Peter Thiel - Co-founder. And not only is it cost effective, it improves your overall branding and marketing efforts, according to MarketShare, "Word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54%."

My biggest tip to gain the most traction in the following scenarios is that you ensure your referral offer/request gets to your customers QUICKLY and it is EASY for them to refer. Below are a few top touch points for a dealership/salesperson, GM or really any employee to ask for a referral.

Top Touch Points:
The most common and effective touch is point is immediately after purchase, but as we all know, our salespeople are usually a little too stoked about closing the deal to handle this.. so here are some other just as effective and awesome places to ask for a referral or promote your referral program:

  1. In-Store Marketing - while they wait for F&I create some flyers that highlight the referral program + $OFFER, your customer is at their most elated point right now, they just bought a car but now they're stuck waiting. They also know they've just spent a pretty penny and the option to help a friend and earn is extremely appealing at this point. We've had some customers submit 4+ referral leads while they've waited for F&I!
     
  2. F&I - your F&I manager is an ideal candidate to quickly explain the benefits of your referral program AKA earning money, while they are also discussing added benefits of new features AKA customer's spending money. a nice ying and yang for the customer to think about.
     
  3. Automated Emails - if you have a follow up email to thank your customer for their purchase - add a referral button or banner that leads to a form to submit referrals. It's easy and efficient.  Your salesperson should also be following up with an email or call (mentioned below) but if they forget or won't, these automated emails and inclusive offers will ensure it gets to your customer!
     
  4. Salesperson Follow up - 1-2 weeks after purchase. A simple check in to see how the car is doing can lead to a LOT of useful information, like if anything is wrong and the salesperson can help remedy this -- Major brownie points and once resolved, it's the perfect time to ask.
     
  5. REVIEWS! If you get a good review, comment back and give them a link to a landing page/form where they can submit referrals!  The lack of action on positive reviews sometimes saddens me, they are a GOLD MINE for referrals... and even the bad one's offer up so much learning experience --- a goodwill offer can help a ton here too.
     
  6. Social Media - It's where you have a lot of loyal fans (as long as you didn't pay for them J ) You can post about referral offers a TON here, it's something that actually won’t get old because you're offering up a reward. You can also tag your most loyal customers and invite them to join. Gamifying this is also really cool, whoever submits the most referrals this month gets 3 free oil changes. (it doesn't always have to be money offers, it's just what the people prefer.)
     
  7. Your Website - PLEASE!!! do not stuff it into one of your million and billions of tabs and sub tabs. Nobody really looks in those. Make it a nice attractive button that highlights the offer amount "$100 Referral Credit" $100 Reward Credit". Something to catch their eye. 

What do you think? Is one of these spots surprising to you or currently ineffective and not receiving enough traction? Do you have an easy way for your customers to submit referrals? Do you have a motivating incentive in place? Do you have a lot of success in another place, let us know!

Mark Rask

I really like number seven....great idea

DJ Snyder

Great article filled with a lot of common sense tactics so many miss!! 

Kevin Foster

Great article Kristen.  Thanks you   Another good place is when the sales person is delivering the vehicle asking the new owner who in their family will be getting a vehicle next.  They usually gladly offer this information.  Simply make note in your CRM and follow up at the appropriate time.  Very easy referral a high percentage of the time

gary brophy

great article..

Bob Parrish

Another thumbs up for a great article.  

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