Want the Ultimate in Referrals? Get a Brand Advocate!

Scott Calonico

man smilingCustomer referrals have always been a great way to find new clients for your MSP business. Referrals cost you nothing, and the leads you meet as a result are inherently “warmer” than clients who haven’t heard of you before.

Perhaps you already have two or three clients who’ve sent new customers in your direction? If so, it’s well worth considering taking things to the next level and turning one or more of these referrers into “brand advocates.”

What is a “brand advocate?”

A brand advocate is, essentially, a truly satisfied customer who has sufficient belief in your business and brand to proactively go out and “shout from the rooftops” about the quality of your service.

This may seem like rather a lot to expect from one of your clients, but hopefully you have at least a couple of customer relationships that are strong enough to permit you to suggest such a scenario.

It’s not like there’s nothing in it for the advocate, anyway. Consider the following:

  • If your client is out there promoting your company for you, they can be very sure that you will do everything in your power to keep them happy (and confident in the service they are recommending).
  • You can offer enticements to encourage them to champion your brand, such as free services or discounts.

How to get started

Here’s a quick four-step guide to getting started with your first brand advocate:

Identify a suitable customer

Think about your client base and come up with a shortlist of customers who you know are genuinely delighted with the service you provide. You should be thinking about clients with whom you have a long-standing relationship, and those who truly consider your firm to be a partner in their business.client shaking hands

Take them for lunch!

There’s no point in doing anything other than coming straight to the point. Be completely up-front about what you are proposing. First confirm that they are as happy with your service as you think they are, and then explain that you hope they would be willing to help you bring more clients on board.

Give them something in return

However happy a client may be, you can be sure that they won’t have the time nor inclination to act as an unpaid sales team for your MSP business! However, mentioning you to their business contacts at meetings and seminars and seeking permission for you to contact leads direct isn’t that burdensome.

Think about what you can offer them in return. For example, you could promise to reduce their monthly invoice by, for example, 10%, each time you sign up a new customer as a result of their advocacy.

Obviously, you may need to set limits on this. Using the above example, ten new clients would mean you looked after the advocate for free. On the other hand, with ten new clients, your business could double or triple in size – supporting one client free of charge in return could prove worthwhile.

Follow through on your promises

If the proposal works out, make sure you give your advocate what they’ve been promised. Business relationships like this should be respected and nurtured.

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