If you’re looking to get massively more client referrals, today’s post is just for you.
I was prompted to write this, after my friend Jennie email me earlier. She was excited. I could tell, by the way she started her email.
“Jim, I have to share this with you!”
So, what was all the excitement about?
Jennie is a client of mine and she knows I take lots of handwritten notes. She’d just found a note-taking app for the iPad Pro and it blew her away. So, she wanted to share it with me. The app is one I already use, Notability. I love it and regularly recommend it.
Let’s unpack that for a moment:
- I use the app daily and have told thousands of people about it on Twitter.
- Jennie has a very senior position in one of the world’s best known tech companies. When Jennie talks, people listen. And she’s telling her friends about the app, too.
- This is happening because the product significantly exceeded our expectations. Neither of us have been paid in any way to promote the product. We’re simply customers, sharing something with our friends because it’s share-worthy.
The marketing power of exceeding expectations
In business, every person we connect with has an expectation of us and our industry. They know what they expect. When we meet their expectation, we achieve the baseline. The minimum required. Unremarkable and certainly not worth talking about.
However, when we significantly exceed expectations, we break their preconceptions. It jolts them! This is sometimes called the wow factor. And it has a powerful impact.
- The way people feel about us dramatically improves. All activity is preceded by feelings. Including the decision to buy from us, hire us and tell their friends about us.
- The experience that exceeded their expectations becomes a story. When we give people a story worth sharing, they spread the word.
- We retain our clients (or customers) for longer.
- Our clients also become a spectacularly valuable source of new clients.
Clearly, exceeding the expectations of clients should be a primary business activity for every business owner. It should be something they dedicate a great deal of thought and attention to.
It should be, but our experience suggests it isn’t. Think about it:
Of all the service providers you’ve used in the past 30 days, how many have exceeded your expectations enough, for you to tell your friends about them?
Maybe 1 or 2 percent? Here’s the thing: most, if not all, of the service providers you’ve used in that time, care about the service they provide.
- They want you to be a happy client.
- They want you to stay with them.
- They want you to tell your friends.
The question is, why did so few of them exceed your expectations?
The 3-point explanation for why this happens
Over the years, I’ve helped countless business owners to overcome this problem. In almost every instance, they had 3 things in common, prior to hiring me.
- The business owner cared a lot about their clients and was working hard to look after them.
- They got very few complaints from clients, so assumed everything was okay.
- However, they also got very few referrals from their clients. They’d say they wrongly thought it was because their clients ‘just weren’t the type of people who recommended service providers’.
The very fact they were not getting regular referrals from their clients, was undeniable proof they were not exceeding expectations. Clients recommend service providers, but only when their expectations have been blown out of the water.
“Okay” isn’t good enough to motivate clients, who already pay for a service or product, to tell everyone how amazing the provider is. Okay isn’t amazing. It isn’t remarkable. It’s just okay.
Our task is to go beyond what’s expected. Our task is to settle for nothing less than exceeding expectations. The rewards for getting it right are transformational.
The process starts by baking ‘the wow factor’ into the product or service you provide. Then, backing it up with a daily commitment to create opportunities to exceed expectations.