When I ask business owners, “What is the number one way you get new business?” The consistent answer is through word-of-mouth or referral. Referral business is easier to convert and much easier to deal with than cold calling prospects. So the big question is, “How do you get more referrals?”

There are two ways to do this, Pro-Active and Re-Active.First let’s talk about Pro-Active Referrals. These are the ones that you actively pursue rather than waiting for word of mouth to occur.

Pro-Active referrals need to be asked for regularly and consistently. This is best done by building it into your sales scripts and customer contact processes. Things like referral incentive programs, referral discounts and even as simple a strategy as just asking will start the referrals flowing. Then make sure you acknowledge your referrers with a Thank-You of some sort.

Second, there is Word Of Mouth or Re-Active referrals. This is business that you get from your current clients mentioning your name to their friends and business contacts. There are ways to get this moving you just need to open your eyes to the possibilities.

You see, getting your customers to talk about you has a double benefit. Firstly, you have to think of ways of impressing them so your quality of service and delivery will have to improve. If you are successful, you will get more customers.

Here is a idea that a business owner has implemented called Critical Non-Essentials. According to the definition, there are several kinds of service that we need to provide to our clients and prospects. Firstly the ‘Essentials’- This is doing what we do properly. Then there is the Critical Non-Essentials (CNEs). CNEs are the little household tasks that give people reasons to believe in your business, particularly the parts they do not understand, they are in the background somewhat, are important but not exciting, stop you getting bad press and show you are competent.

Some examples would be clean bathrooms, neat dress, well groomed employees, showing up on time, thank you cards, etc.

Then there is the Super CNE. Super- CNEs are CNEs taken to a sensational degree so that everyone remembers and talks about them. They get you good press provide the WOW that gives people a good story to tell and provide the dazzle.

Your business may have a $10,000 cappuccino machine in the reception area. When you are asked how you justify this machine. You can say, “You know, I have this $10,000 cappuccino machine out the front and a $200,000 x-ray machine out the back. The main difference is that no-body talks about the x-ray machine, and everybody talks about the cappuccino machine.”

This is a classic case of using the Super-CNE as a marketing tool. The main difference between CNEs and Super CNEs is that the CNE will give people confidence in your business and improve your conversion rate. The Super CNE will get people talking about you and increase lead generation.

So, start looking inside your business for ways to generate more leads. The benefits are huge! You will have happier customers, a happier team, have lots more fun, and attract the kind of client that appreciates the extra things that you do.

Author: Steven J. Beaman is the founder & principal owner of BCSG, LLC, a general business consultancy and coaching organization whose primary focus is independent professionals and small businesses. Steven helps businesses to determine the constraints that are causing them to become stagnant or unproductive. He also assists start-up businesses to determine the roadblocks or obstacles that they may not have perceived. He also guides organizations through the start-up process, rapid business growth, or a turnaround situation. He does this using his wealth of management experience gathered during his over 35 year career of managing a variety of business functions in both small and medium businesses. He has expertise in numerous types of businesses (for profit and non-profit).