You are most likely getting them without even trying. Moms talk to moms and before you know it, you are the talk of the town. When it comes to getting a significant amount of business by way of referral some dance schools are better at it than others. It’s not that they have implemented a better process for asking clients and partners to refer them; it’s that they are simply more referable.  

You are most likely getting them without even trying. Moms talk to moms and before you know it, you are the talk of the town. When it comes to getting a significant amount of business by way of referral some dance schools are better at it than others. It’s not that they have implemented a better process for asking clients and partners to refer them; it’s that they are simply more referable.  

Dance schools that create the kind of easy buzz that turns into business possess certain qualities at their very core. While these qualities may not come as naturally to some, they can be learned and instilled in any business with enough attention.

I studied the habits of numerous businesses that generated most of their business by way of referral and found that the following qualities existed in the most successful ones and contributed to what I call their referability factor.

'Most Trusted'

In the business of referrals, trust is the most important reason a recommendation is made and, conversely, lack of trust the single greatest reason referrals don’t happen. There are countless ways that businesses build and break trust with their customers, but most can be summed up with one word, honesty.

Trust is earned by keeping promises: tangible things like opening on time, paying bills on time and honoring guarantees; and less tangible things like authentic marketing messages, a caring service and a culture of respect between you, your employees, the students and their parents. Are you the most trusted player among dance schools in your town?

'Your Staff Is Treated Like Customers'

Here’s something your customers won’t ever tell you but that you need to know: Your employees probably treat your customers about the same way you treat your employees. Let that soak that in for a minute, and think about the ways your everyday behavior might be affecting your school’s ability to generate referrals.

'Hire The Right Teachers For The Best Fit'

One recurring thread in many of the businesses was the idea of hiring the right people. And this notion starts first with knowing what means for your studio. In much the same way a business might research and attempt to attract the ideal customer, referral-based businesses also focus on attracting the ideal employee. The company takes care of the staff, the staff takes care of the customer, and the customer takes care of the business.

'A Culture Of Buzz'

Highly referred businesses are good enough to make people want to talk about them, but they amplify this natural desire by making word of mouth an essential element of the culture. Companies create buzz with great follow-up, T-shirts and other promotional merchandise, free events, outrageous acts of kindness and anything that contributes to an overall culture of buzz. Companies that focus on creating positive customer experiences at every turn tap the power of buzz quite naturally, and this habit is something that can be learned. Let me emphasize the natural and authentic nature of this habit. A culture of buzz is not created by attempting to do things that get attention because customers recognize publicity stunts when they see them.

'Give To Get Mentality'

There are a handful of golden rules, which vary depending on which set of books you were raised on, but in the business of referrals, those who give usually get. It’s not too hard to grasp this concept; everyone in business has experienced the 'what goes around comes around' phenomenon. But I’d like to suggest that something deeper exists in the true referral-based mindset. When a referral strategy pervades your entire business thinking, you begin to approach customer relationships by asking 'What am I here to give?' or 'How can I serve?' as opposed to 'What can I sell?'

'Expect Referrals'

It stands to reason that a customer who comes to your studio by way of referral and then experiences your remarkable level of service is far more likely to become part of your referral team. Remarkable companies expect to receive referrals as a matter of course. In fact, they are confident something went wrong with their process when a customer does not voluntarily refer. If you find yourself saying, 'I believe you get referrals by doing good work, not by asking for them,' then I’m going to suggest that you’re not really sure of the value of your products and services. Remarkable companies always ask for referrals, not simply as a way to acquire new clients, but also as a way to help the most people get the results they are after.

'Premium Priced'

Too often price is the first and only measure of differentiation when a parent attempts to compare products, services and studios. In the eyes of a prospect, there is risk involved in any transaction no matter how large or small. So, the prospect thinks, if it doesn’t work out with the low-priced company, at least I didn’t overpay. Referred prospects, on the other hand, have the ability to factor value into the equation. When your dance school comes highly recommended by a friend, the role of risk is minimized, and that fact alone moves the significance of price comparison down the list. I have yet to find a business that relies heavily on referrals and low price leadership as shared strategies.

As you take steps to help your business grow, think about these factors and what needs to be done so that your school fits the bill.