Last Thursday I had the awesome opportunity to interview Tara Hunt who is the author of the Whuffie Factor. I fell in love with her book and her writing because it really gets to the heart of what building relationships with your clients can do to build a business that will last a lifetime.
Tara came up with the idea of her book The Whuffie Factor from a sci-fi idea. In this sci-fi world there was no such thing as money. Whuffie was a currency that you gain by doing something notable. It was this idea that you get richer by giving something away and the more that you gave away the more that you would get back in return. This is the way societies used to work. When currency came about, money became finite. Once you spend it, then it is gone. With whuffie however, it keeps building like a ripple effect.
As I think about this idea with my tutoring business it is no wonder why 50% of my clients come from referrals. My clients are usually more than happy with the results that their children achieve and as a result they continue to talk about what I do with people. When they hear that someone is struggling with reading, my name is the first one that comes out of their mouth.
This means that we need to spend time building relationships with our current clients and making the experience the best that it can be for them. We need to continue to add value for them and be more concerned about their experience they are receiving from us, than our own gains.
Tara and I talked about the importance of having other people talk about us. Like I mentioned, most of my own referrals come from other people talking about me. When I realized that this was happening, I soon began to realize that I needed to offer ways for my clients to talk about me. I need to let them know that if they are happy with my services, then I need to let them know ways they can spread the word of my services.
One of my clients that I worked with over the summer two years ago had a daughter that was at the bottom of her class after leaving the first grade in reading. She was reading at a kindergarten reading level, and mom and dad were both frustrated. I worked with her over the summer, and we brought her up to a 3rd grade reading level. She didn’t need my services anymore, so I called her mom to tell her the great news. She was elated, and when I told her she didn’t need my services anymore she was kind of sad. I said at that point, that if she wanted me to continue working with her I could, or we could part ways and she could leave a recommendation on my LinkedIn page and share her daughters success story on Facebook. This mom did all of this and more. The next summer, a client that had heard about this success contacted me to work with her son. I have had several clients that come to me now as a referral from this mom.
So when is the best time to ask for a recommendation? The best time is when your client is the happiest. I like to ask for it when they have sent me a raving review in an e-mail or after a huge success. I test my students every three months. After a student has made a huge gain like the one I mentioned above, I chat with the students parent and only if they are saying positive things about their experience do I ask them to mention it on the social media that they are on.
In this video there is so much content that Tara talks about when it comes to social media. I think the most important thing to take away is that it is all about real engagement with your customers, potential customers, and students. When you are being authentic people can tell. The opposite is true as well. When you are not being authentic people can tell that as well. So be the most authentic you that you can possibly be.
How do you use social media to add value and build relationships?