Ask, Ask, and Ask - that is my advice Jessica. Every person I speak with on the phone I constantly ask the question - "Do you know.......". It is an on-going task of flipping over stones, but if you don't ask you might miss out on that next great candidate.
I agree with Tim if you don't ask you may miss out on a great candidate. I ask almost everyone I speak to. I do offer a referral bonus as well, which helps. I use social recruiting such as Twitter and LinkedIn and non-virtual networking as well :) Hope that helps.
Dorothy - I don't need to know all the in's & out's , but can you give me a general idea of the referral bonus plan you implemented? Just curious since I don;t use anything like at that at my desk.
Agree with Tim. The #1 reason people don't get referrals is because they don't ask.
First, do a great job and create strong customer loyalty. Then, don't be shy about asking for a referral. If there is any way to create on-going contact with a client/customer, then it's good to have an on-going reminder about referrals you can put in front of them. For example, if you have a monthly email or e-newsletter, put an automated referral button in the communication. Or if you have an annual customer satisfaction survey, measure their client satisfaction and if they rate you high, follow up with a referral request. If you have not read "The Ultimate Question" that's a book worth reading and it has good information on customer loyalty and referrals.
Personally I invest very heavily in my candidates. When I speak with them, I do my best to 100% understand them and I treat them with impeccable respect and professionalism - they then actively refer people to me in return or when I ask them, they are more than willing to help and will go to extraodinary lengths. I think it comes under 'do unto others......' though I am not a church goer.
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. So we have...
1) Ask everyone (Tim and others)
2) Implement some sort of bonus plan (via Dorothy & if anyone has more insight into a referral bonus structure, that would be great)
3) Use social media (Dorothy)
4) Invest in your candidates to create strong loyalty (Nathan & Mike)
5) Use an automated referral button in all of your communication (I like this idea from Nathan)
anything else we're missing?