Happy clients are sure to pass on the word that your business is helpful. Treat them right.

I recently met a business consultant who includes a stack of recommendation letters from happy clients with every proposal he writes. Over the top? Perhaps. But this guy has the right idea.

Recommendations influence buying decisions. You have happy clients. Encourage them to share their happiness, and you will sell more.

As soon as you complete a transaction with a client, solicit feedback. You can do this in person, over the phone, via email, or through other channels. You also can solicit feedback regularly via online surveys that you promote through your email newsletter.

If the feedback is positive, ask for permission to quote the client in a testimonial you’ll publish. If you’re with the client, ask if you can shoot a quick video that you can embed in your web site and post on YouTube and other video channels. And ask the client to post a five-star review on your local business listing on Google and Yahoo.

If you don’t have a local listing with the search engines, it’s easy to create one. Go to https://google.com/places and https://listings.local.yahoo.com to establish your local listings, and then direct your happy clients to those sites so they can spread the love.

The positive reviews will appear in your search listings and help you rank higher in the search engines. Video testimonials will also help with the search engines and drive more traffic to your site.

Of course, don’t forget to publish lots of testimonials on your web site, and include stacks of them in the proposals you write.

This article first appeared in St. Louis Small Business Monthly for which Tom Ruwitch writes a monthly marketing column.

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