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The Zen Minimalist’s Guide to Growing Your Business

So you’re in a funk. Your business is stalling out and you feel like you have tried everything. If there was only one single thing you could try to kick-start growth, what would it be?

Spend everything on a marketing campaign? No.

Hire a sales guy? Definitely not.

There is one highly effective course of action that many super-successful experts have used time and time again to grow their businesses. James Altucher swears by it. Many of his guests including NYT Bestselling author of “The Miracle Morning” Hal Elrod swear by. Even Zen Master and NYT Bestselling author of “The Surrender Experiment” Michael Singer uses this technique all the time.

And it’s so easy to do too.

It’s so simple, most people either overlook it, forget to do it, or underestimate its power.

Here it is: Ask for personal referrals from existing customers.

Now if you are a carpenter, like Michael Singer was, asking customers for referrals is easy. You know your customers personally, you have a relationship (of some kind) with them, so you can just call them up and see if they know anyone who needs work done.

But online SaaS business owners typically don’t know their customers that well. They don’t have as personal a relationship with people who stumble upon their site and just create a username and password.

In fact, if you were to just blindly send out an email asking these semi-strangers for personal referrals, it could be a big turn-off.

So how do you most effectively ask for referrals from existing customers of an online SaaS business model WITHOUT upsetting or pissing off customers who might not be ready to give you personal referrals?

The solution is to incorporate Net Promoter Score (NPS®). The first question in an NPS survey is “How likely (on a scale from 0-10) are you to recommend your product or service to a friend or colleague?”

The vast majority of companies using NPS stop there. They collect their statistics, aggregate their data, pat themselves on the back and move on. This is the single biggest mistake you can make when running NPS campaigns.

When customers respond with a 9 or a 10, they are self-selecting themselves as natural promoters of your business. These are people who would recommend your service to people even if you didn’t ask them to. But if you do ask them to, they certainly won’t be upset with you for doing so.

The customers giving you a score of 2 or 3 would otherwise be pissed off if you asked them for a referral. But customers scoring you highly are already telling you that they are open to it. So all you have to do is ask.

Here’s a template for how to politely ask for a personal referral from your most eager customers:

Dear [Customer],

Honestly, I just wanted to tell you that your survey response made my day. I am always so pleased to get to know valued customers like yourself better, and the fact that you took the time to fill out this form means a lot to me.

Do you personally know anybody who might be in need of services from [Our Company]?

I am trying to grow my small business, and as you know, personal referrals can make a big difference when doing so. If you could share their name and email address, I would be thrilled to personally reach out (with your permission) to tell them that you thought of them recently.

I would never spam your friends, just like I have never spammed you. I take all of my business relationships very seriously.

Thank you for the consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

P.S. If I can ever return this favor, all you need to do is ask. I have added your email to my personal VIPs so that you won’t get lost in my inbox.

Not so hard, right? But taking it that extra step will make all the difference in the world.

If there was only one act I could take to grow my business today with the least resources I could, it would be using just this method. I hope you try it out and come back to share the results in the comments below.

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Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

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