referral marketing

Why you're not getting more referrals

Yesterday I on-boarded a new client and at the end of the meeting he turned and said "Now I need to ask you for some referrals." As he uttered those words you could feel the dynamic in the room change…in an instant.

It's not that I don't want to give him referrals…I do and I will. It's how he asked.

When you ask like that, it's more about you than me.

And when it's about you, not me…you're not communicating in the language I prefer. The "let's talk about me language."

Now…don't judge me a narcissist just yet, because you KNOW you think that way too…and so do your clients.

Asking in the way my client did was a one way transfer of value. He got it all, and I got nothing. And, most importantly, he didn't offer my contacts any particular value upon introduction.

Sure he's good at what he does…yes, when I refer him he'll do a good job…but that alone isn't enough to earn an introduction.

I'll bet you're asking your clients in this same way…it's common.

And you're probably not getting as many quality referrals as you'd like.

The fix for this pesky little referral problem is to orchestrate the referral. Have a "ceremony", a process, something special and valuable for both your client and the person they introduce you to.

For this new client, we'll create a "referral kit" with some really valuable information in it…information that can only be had if you're introduced by a friend (like being one of the cool kids).

Then, he won't have to beg for something…he'll be giving something valuable.

Big difference.

Not getting the referrals you should? I can fix that.

Take the first step here (it's free) >>

A Sweet Way to Get More Referrals

I have a sweet spot (pun intended) in my heart for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. This weekend my folks were in town and Dad loves to bring boxes full of the melt-in-your-mouth goodies for our kids.

(Side note: Krispy Kreme has a "Hot Doughnuts Now" app...it'll use GPS to locate the nearest store with fresh diet busting goodness...it's on my iPhone...don't judge)

So Mom and Dad show up and stuck to the top of the box of doughnuts was an excellent example of how to orchestrate a referral...a 1-page flyer with holiday gift tags.

You know, the ones you stick on presents, except the back of each of these tags had a free offer. Some gave the recipient a free cup of coffee, others, a free doughnut. No purchase necessary...just a freebie.

Do you think Krispy Kreme customers will give them to friends & family? You bet (I may refer myself a few times too).

That's how you ORCHESTRATE referrals.

Orchestrated referrals are predictable...they can be systematized and they are far more effective than simply asking.

Imagine if the teenage clerk that's selling the doughnuts asked you if you knew anyone who might like some doughnuts...

You might think of one person (on a good day).

But when you get 12 totally free gifts to give away, you're likely to pass them on. That's 12 referrals, less effort on the part of the business and greater chance of success.

So here's your challenge...how can you adapt this idea to orchestrate referrals in your business? (It can be applied to ANY business with the right imagination.)

Steve Gordon

P.S. I specialize in adapting great marketing ideas from one business and "installing" them in yours. To find out how you can get my help click here.

 

How to Get More Referrals in 3 Steps a Day

I'm asked regularly by business people about referrals...mostly how they can get more. I hate to disappoint you, but there is no magic bullet that will suddenly unleash a torrent of referrals. No, in my experience the businesses that get get lots of referrals making giving a HABIT (note the emphasis...it's really important!).

Last week I had the opportunity to share my daily networking habits...the one's that lead to referrals...with 50 business owners and sales professionals. Here's a short (12 minute) video of the presentation.

Please share your most effective networking and referral habits in the comments.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/_UkXZYvfLy4&w=530&rel=0]

The Scariest Thing in Your Business

The scariest number in your business...**one** (of anything)

One largest customer...if any ONE client is more than 20% of your revenue...you're just asking to suffer. One day, that client will leave...and you could experience a B.E.E. (Business Ending Event). One supplier (of anything)...if you've got just one source of anything you need to make your operation run...sooner or later they'll screw up but you'll be the one with egg on your face.

One product or service to sell...yes this is scary (think CPA's and tax preparers under Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan) but it's more foolish. Your clients have more than one need. If you're not giving them "what's next", you're leaving big money on the table.

One key employee, with your business in her head...can hit the door or get hit by a bus. Either way, your business, your income and a portion of your wealth leave with her. Have a backup.

One key system...computers are great, but they break, get viruses, files get deleted...stuff happens. (It's happened to me in the last 12 months...but...heeding my own advice I had a backup...lost less than 24 hours of time...and no data).

THE SCARIEST ONE OF ALL...

ONLY one way to get new clients...

Do you remember the days of broadcast fax? You know, you'd come to work in the morning and there'd be 17 faxes selling something, waiting for you. Businesses...BIG Businesses...were built using broadcast fax.

Then one day the FCC said "Hey, stop doing that!" And those businesses (that had just the one way of making sales) went away.

Ditto for telemarketing (the do-not-call-list), Infomercials (they're back now, but went away in the 80's)...

If you get all of your business from _______________ (fill in the blank...word of mouth, referrals, direct mail, the Interwebs, etc.) you're at risk.

You may not even know it...success "lulls" you to sleep...until the monster is upon you!

The only protection from this MOST HIDEOUS BUSINESS KILLING MONSTER is building an army of client getting robots to protect your business.

Ready to build your army? Now's your chance...the next Clients on Autopilot Monthly Briefing launches tomorrow to subscribers ONLY.

Not a subscriber yet...not to worry...you can still get in, until Midnight (Eastern) tonight.

Click here to get this blowout briefing!

Steve Gordon

P.S I credit Dan Kennedy for teaching me this truth first...but I needed to take extra credit in the school of hard knocks before I "got it." My education was EXPENSIVE...you can get yours the easy way. Click here to subscribe.

The Ugly Truth About Referrals

Referrals, referrals, referrals... Boy have I been getting a lot of questions about referrals!

  • How do I get more referrals?
  • Why would someone refer me? (good question)
  • What's the best way to get referrals?
  • Don't people get annoyed when I ask for a referral?

For the love of Mike, what is the big hang up with referrals?

Then it hit me...

I said to myself..."Self: They're all thinking about it the wrong way and they don't know it."

Your clients don't refer you to do YOU a favor. They do it to make themselves FEEL GOOD. It's totally selfish.

Think about the last time you recommended a great restaurant to a friend. You probably went on and on about how the edamame was perfectly crisp and the pinot noir was especially smooth.

And you felt good inside because you were turning your friend on to a great experience.

So...when you give great service and ask for referrals you give your clients the opportunity to feel good. Why wouldn't you want to do that for each and every client?

As I outline in my popular 7 Deadly Marketing Sins e-book...there are four reasons you're not getting all the referrals you want:

  1. You're uncomfortable asking (hopefully I've destroyed that mental barrier with the example above)
  2. You don't know how to ask. (the words you use make all the difference)
  3. You don't know when to ask. Timing is everything. Too early and you're not proven...too late and they've lost the mood.
  4. You don't make asking for referrals part of your marketing/selling/fulfillment system. i.e. A line item on the check list of "103 Things we do for each and every client."

Just my two cents...Let me know what's holding you back from getting more referral business? Post in the comments.

Referrals - The 3 Step Plan Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Referral Engine Marketing Next to selling more to your current clients, referral marketing is the easiest sale of all. But most small business owners approach it as though it’s rain falling from the sky—they have no control over referrals, they just hope it comes when they need it.

Hope is not a strategy…

If you want more referrals, the good news is that they are just 3 simple steps away…

Step 1. Ask for referrals!

Ok, I know that seems a little simplistic (and it is…we’ll talk about how to ask in a moment) but seriously, if you want more referrals, ASK!

The trick is in knowing how to ask. For most of the business owners I work with there are four barriers to getting more referrals.

The Barriers to Getting Referrals

1. You’re uncomfortable asking for referrals (for some people it not discomfort…it’s downright fear). It’s OK. In fact it’s totally normal to be uncomfortable…even afraid to ask for referrals.

You don’t want to offend your client by begging for more business after you’ve already taken their money, right? I mean, really…it’s like saying you’re just not enough for me, I need more.

If you feel that way about asking for referrals you are far from alone. But your fears are unfounded. In his latest book Referral Engine, John Jantsch shares research that proves we humans are “wired to refer.”

If you think about it, sending someone you care about to a great resource makes YOU feel good and makes you valuable to the other person. It’s a win-win. So your clients need to refer you.

By referring you to others your clients confirm their decision to use you in their own minds. You can actually increase client satisfaction by asking for referrals.

2. You don’t know how to ask. The words you use when you ask for a referral matter greatly. Use the wrong words and you sound selfish, sleezy or worse…desperate.

As I coach business owners to get more referrals, the easiest way I’ve found is to simply ask your clients for introductions.

And be specific about who you want to be introduced to…name names if you can. (I’ll talk about the importance of being specific in a moment.)

3. You don’t know when to ask. Timing is everything. Should you ask at the moment the ink dries on the contract, at the end of the project or somewhere in between?

One of my clients makes a habit of asking anytime a client thanks him for his work. It goes something like this:

Client: “Thank you so much for taking care of this for me…”

You: “You’re welcome. I’m glad you feel good about our work together. Tell me, do you know just one friend or colleague who might need my help too?”

Client: “Yes…my friend Mary.”

You: “I’d love to help Mary if I can. Would you please introduce us?”

Client: “Absolutely!”

Simple…and not at all sleezy.

In my experience there is no one best time to ask for referrals. Ask when the ink dries, because a referral here can boost client retention and stave off buyer’s remorse.

Ask again whenever the client praises you (if they’re praising you daily don’t ask daily…but you could certainly ask monthly without being a pest, if you do it the right way).

4. You don’t have a system for asking for referrals. This is where most businesses fail in referral marketing. They just sit back and expect referrals to show up. Some will, but you’re leaving big heaping piles of cash on the table if you’re not stimulating referrals.

You’ve got to create a system to get referrals, to track referrals, to reward clients who refer and to follow-up with the referrals you receive.

Step 2. Be Specific When You Ask For Introductions

I don’t know Someone or Anyone and neither do your clients. Most of the time when I ask business owners to tell me who would be a good lead for them (and I ask it of just about everyone I meet) I get an answer like this…

“Anyone who has a home really…” or

“Everyone with a car is a prospect for me…” or

“Someone looking to be healthy…”

Sounds absurd when you read it. And it makes it almost impossible for me to refer to you. You have now put the work of identifying your prospects onto me. I hate to tell you, but I’ve got enough to do and I’m not doing your work.

You must make it easy for clients to refer you. Do all of the leg work for them. Then use them to do the one thing you really need…introduce you.

Here’s what I use…

The Top 10 List

My friend and mentor Greta Schulz taught me this trick. I keep a list of the Top 10 people, companies or professions I want to meet. I list them on a one-pager and include my contact information and a short sentence or two about how to introduce me.

You can download a copy of my Top 10 List Networking Template and use it for yourself.

When I meet with strategic alliances or when I ask clients for introductions I simply ask if I can share a list of people I’m looking to get introduced to.

They always say yes…then I give them a copy of my Top 10 List and ask if they know anyone on the list.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll get introduced to the 10 people on your list. Then you add another 10 and off you go.

I used this technique when I moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 2007. I knew 2 people in the business community. In just 12 months I was “plugged in” and all of the key people I needed to meet were in my network.

And the best part is that you’ll look like a networking rock star when you use this one little tool. People will ask if they can copy it (and you’ll always say “Of course!”)

One little ninja trick: Ask the other person for their Top 10 List so you can help them get introduced to people you may know.

They’ll fall all over themselves thanking you. Unfortunately, only 1 in 100 will ever send you anything.

So make your list today!

Do Some “Reverse Prospecting”

This is a master technique, that’s so simple, but no one does it. Call one of your closest allies (someone who you have a solid relationship with) and invite them to lunch. Let them know that you want to refer more business back and forth.

Then ask them to bring their client and prospect lists. You take yours.

When you get to lunch swap lists. You check their list for prospects and they check yours. Then agree to make the introductions within a week of your lunch.

Sometimes that’s all you need to create a flood of referrals.

Step 3. Follow-up Quickly

Referrals get stale faster than a carton of milk from the gas-station convenience store.

Commit to following up immediately with every referral. It shows respect for the person who gave you the referral and it serves the person you’re being referred to.

I like phone calls better than emails. They’re more personal and your goal is to build a relationship.

Send a thank you note to the person who referred you.

If you end up doing business, send the referrer a gift. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but sending something will go a long way towards getting more referrals from that person.

Here’s your assignment:

1. Decide how and when you are going to ask for referrals. Write down your plan in 2-3 sentences. Having it on paper will help you stick to it. Write out the words you’re going to use to ask for introductions. Then practice with a friend, you spouse or your dog. The point is to get comfortable with the words you’ll use before you’re in front of a client. Once you’ve decided when to ask. Add it to your checklist at that part of your sales process.

2. Make Your Top 10 List. Download my Networking Top 10 List template and edit it to be your own. This one step will take you less than an hour and will set you apart from every other business in your area. Just do it.

3. Write your follow-up system. Write down the steps you’ll take to follow-up with each and every referral. Make a checklist and don’t forget to take care of the people who refer you.

Do you need more referrals and don’t know where to start? That’s why I created the Get More Clients System. To help business owners and entrepreneurs get all the clients they need to sleep like a baby every night…without worrying about how to make payroll next week. To learn more, request a Get Acquainted Session.

To your success!

Small Business Marketing Consultant Steve Gordon