Ultimate Resource Guide @


Published on

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ultimate Resource Guide @

  1. 1. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 1
  2. 2. The Perfect Way To Motivate Your Referral Sources.....................................................4 Referrals Build Profits: The Best Kind Of Customer Is A Referred Customer...............6 Make Your Referrals Count ...........................................................................................8 Increase Repeat Business And Referrals With Direct Mail ......................................................................................................................................10 I Hate Asking for Referrals! – 6 Proven Methods for Getting a Flood of Referrals Without Asking ......................................................................................................................................13 Getting Referrals ......................................................................................................................................16 Use Email Technology to Boost Referrals ......................................................................................................................................20 Referrals: Getting Good Business By Doing Good Business .......................................................................................................................................21 Effortless Networking: A Better Way to ask for Referrals............................................24 Acknowledging Referrals! What’s in It For You?.........................................................26 Referral Marketing: Secret to Income Explosion Breakthroughs................................28 Increase Your Sales By Putting A Referral System In Place.........................................30 Referrals - How to Get Them........................................................................................32 Effective Business Networking: 5 Tips For Mastering The Art of Networking............34 WOMM! Word of Mouth Marketing.............................................................................37 How to Stimulate Even More Customer Referrals! ....................................................40 Referral Business: 3 Steps to Generating Unlimited Referrals ...................................41 In Financial Services, You Can Smile Harder and Give Away Gifts, but Loyalty is Heartfelt........................................................................................................................43 Go Out And Get Referrals.............................................................................................45 The Number One Most Effective, Least Embarrassing Way to Ask for a Referral.......46 Customer Leverage Strategies or Mining for Gold!......................................................48 How to Get Customers to Recommend Your Business to Other Customers!...............50 Marketing: Reach, Engage, Connect & Deliver Value...................................................52 Customer Service Tips That Generate Referrals...........................................................55 Painless Methods for Getting a Constant Stream of Referrals.....................................57 This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 2
  3. 3. Increase Your Sales By Putting A Referral System In Place.........................................60 How to Manage Customer Expectations......................................................................62 Networking Through Strategic Alliances......................................................................65 Business Networking and Marketing Ups and Downs.................................................69 Referrals Build Profits: The Best Kind Of Customer Is A Referred Customer..............71 How To Get Referrals From Warm Contacts................................................................73 Referrals Win Again......................................................................................................76 Customers Who Rave About You and Your Service......................................................77 How to Get More Referral Business.............................................................................80 How to Be the Most Memorable Person at Networking Events...................................83 You Have to Ask for Referrals If You Want Them........................................................85 This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 3
  4. 4. The Perfect Way To Motivate Your Referral Sources You know you have much to offer your referral partners but, they don’t seem very motivated to refer you to their network. You’ve taken the lawyer, accountant, financial planner and insurance broker to lunch, explained your greatness but, still, they don’t ever send any referrals your way. Maybe it’s time to shift the entire dynamic in this little referral process and spark their motivation by getting them to chase you instead. Today I plan to outline two very powerful tactics that will get your prime referral target partners to return your calls, introduce you to their network and actively market your business. Before I do though I want to explain the universal principle these tactics are built upon. When you make a sales call on one of your prime referral prospects, the focus is one what “they” can do for “you.” In that scenario, you are indeed selling. What if your reversed the focus and presented a referral partnership that instead focused on what “you” were going to do for “them?” The tactics I am about to outline will give you the creative framework but, this shift in focus is the driver and a principle so strategic in nature that it’s worth looking for other ways to apply. So, to shift the focus to your referral source I offer two powerful strategies. 1) The Perfect Introduction In Reverse - Make up a list of 25 prime referral sources - Those folks that you know serve your same market and could easily influence some percentage of that market to consider your services. Write to these sources and tell them that you admire what they do and think that you have clients that you could refer to them. Include a form in this mailing that allows them to explain in their own words exactly how to introduce them to your clients. Ask them to fill this form out using your Perfect Introduction as an example and return it to you. Simple as this sounds it will forever alter how they view your business. And, you will certainly receive some information that will allow you to refer a portion of these sources to your clients. But, you will also be amazed by the amount of positive feedback you receive from the simple twist in the selling dynamic. All of a sudden you become the client instead of the salesperson. 2) Interview Syndrome - No matter what the topic, everyone likes to be interviewed. I publish a podcast here - and I’m amazed at the caliber of guest that will return my phone call or This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 4
  5. 5. email when I ask to interview them for my podcast. Granted, my podcast has a few more listeners than the average small time AM radio talk show these days but, there is something fetching about the lure of the media interview. Here is how you apply this to your referral network. Make up a list of professionals or service providers that you think would have something worthwhile to say to your target audience. Then, once a month, invite one of these experts to participate in a recorded interview. Record, broadcast or otherwise syndicate this content on your web site or even as a series of CDs. Or, you can host these events as live teleseminars and invite your guest speakers to promote the call to their clients and prospects. So now when you approach a potential referral source you are no longer asking them to do something for you, you are asking them if they want to be famous, or something close to it. Can you how one of the above tactics might change how you approach your referral sources? Try either of these for a while and just might find referral sources begging to be on your team. About The Author John Jantsch is a marketing coach, author and creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System. You can get more information about the Duct Tape System and download your free copy of “How To Grow Your Small Business Like Crazy by visiting http://www.ducttapemarketing.com. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 5
  6. 6. Referrals Build Profits: The Best Kind Of Customer Is A Referred Customer Referrals are the key to exponential and cost-efficient business growth. Supply a topnotch product... let your customers know how advantageous your brand is... and provide exceptional service. Do that and you’ll encourage customers to willingly send their families, friends, acquaintances, and business associates your way. There’s no easier sale than the sale made to a “pre-sold” prospect. This kind of favorable condition can only arise as a result of the shared enthusiasm from another delighted buyer. Word-of-mouth advertising generates top quality referrals. As a marketing tool, it simply can’t be beat. Word of mouth promotion cannot be purchased for any amount of money... it can only be earned. Referrals happen when one friend willingly shares information with another. What makes referrals so effective is that no true friend would recommend a business, service, or product that they didn’t completely approve of themselves. The foundation for building your business with referrals is a solid product or service -- one that not only meets, but exceeds your advertising claims. One way to achieve customer satisfaction is to “under promise” and “over deliver”. It doesn’t mean you should weaken your advertising materials. Simply focus on providing more for you customers – more than you promise. That’s another formula for success. People are always thrilled to get a little something extra with a purchase they’re already happy about. Write powerful sales copy that clearly positions your product as the overwhelming favorite. Make a huge promise... and deliver even more. Treat your customers as the most important component of your business. Customers are vital to your success – even to your very existence. People want to be treated fairly, with respect, and courtesy. The golden rule still applies – treat people the same way you like to be treated. Remember, nobody likes to wait beyond a reasonable amount of time for an order to be filled. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 6
  7. 7. When you get in the habit of delighting customers, you’ll find that people are only too happy to tell others. As word spreads about your product or service, you’re business is propelled to new heights. Your success in business is predicated on your ability to satisfy customers, and to continuously grow your customer base. In all your communications with customers, you need to encourage them tell others about all the benefits your product or service offers. Let loyal buyers know that you’re always seeking new customers. Remind readers that you’ve built your business by thoroughly satisfying customers and having those customers tell others in turn. Ask buyers if they know anyone who would like and could benefit from your catalog. As soon as a name is provided, fire off an information package... and send a thank you note to the customer who fed you the lead. Referrals make it easy to grow your business. Provide discount cards for new customers. Offer a 10% to 15% discount on their first purchase and then make these available to your existing customers for distribution to others. Give them an extra reason for handing these discount coupons out. Offer points towards free gifts, free premiums, for each discount coupon redeemed, or simply acknowledge them as a “builder” of your organization, complete with their picture and certificate, proudly displayed for all to see. The best way to get customers to refer others is “in the moment” -- when they’re still enamored with your product or your high level of personal service. While customers are enjoying these positive emotions about your company, that’s the time to ask for a little favor. Ask... “Is there someone else you know, who might want to… grow their business by 37%this year? ... get that older car looking showroom-clean? ... transform any weed- filled lot into a lush green lawn and garden? Simply fill in the end of the sentence with the big benefit you’ve just delivered on. Plant the seed of referrals and referrals will come your way. More resources at www.makeyoursalessoar.com About The Author Robert Boduch is an author of dozens of best-selling books, reports and articles on the art and science of selling. A free newsletter targeted at anyone interested in selling more of anything is available at www.makeyoursalessoar.com. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 7
  8. 8. Make Your Referrals Count Just because we receive a referral, it doesn’t mean that the sale is ours and the deal is closed even before we make contact. For all you know, the person being referred to you may have also been referred to someone else, so don’t take your referrals for granted. Treat your referral as though it is someone that you have never heard of before, make believe you were cold calling and came across this name on your list, and when you called them, they showed interest in your product. Now, you would never treat your very own hard earned customer with anything but the best customer service, would you? Of course you wouldn’t, you found this customer on your own through hard work and you want to keep them. Think of your referral in the same light. Far to many times I have seen referrals that have been given to people that just let them sit around for days. The assumption is, I believe, that because this customer was referred to them, that it is a done deal and they can take their time with it. This is not the case. The minute you get a referral, you should be calling that customer, the simple fact that you believe a referral to be a done deal, should be all the reason in the world to call them immediately. The customer’s point of view . . . If a customer is looking for a particular product or service, and they put the word out on the street, they will be expecting a phone call very soon. Lets suppose you were looking to have your bathroom updated, and a friend of yours referred you to a guy who installs kitchens and bathrooms, and you never heard from the guy, and if you did it was many days after the guy received your referral. You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about doing business with him now, would you? I doubt it. So the next time you get a referral, make it count, call that customer immediately, they are sitting by the phone, waiting on your call. When it comes to referrals, don’t hesitate for a second, because if you do, your referral could end up in the hands of your competition. Best of Luck This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 8
  9. 9. This article may be reproduced by anyone at any time, as long as the authors name and reference links are kept in tact and active. About The Author Jay Conners has more than fifteen years of experience in the banking and Mortgage Industry, He is the owner of http://www.jconners.com a mortgage resource site, he is also the owner of http://www.callprospect.com, a mortgage lead company. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 9
  10. 10. Increase Repeat Business And Referrals With Direct Mail So you have been writing mortgages like crazy now for the last few years. You have a pretty big database of customers and hopefully you have been getting and keeping full contact information for them. An organized database is the first key to customer retention. The next step is to put together a direct mail campaign to keep these customers thinking about you when they think about mortgages. It is often years between times when each customer needs a mortgage professional, and it takes far less than that for them to forget your name. As well as fighting time, you are fighting indifference. Customers who get great service are often reluctant to pass that information along, while customers who feel they have gotten poor service will tell everyone. Most of the time good customers need to be reminded of their experience. By following up with each customer on a regular basis you will not only stay in the front of their mind but you will also start to build a reputation as a solid and responsible business. So how do you get started? Below are a couple of the most frequently asked questions when starting a campaign to keep in touch with past clients. What Type of Direct Mail Piece Works Best? There is a great debate amongst Mortgage Professionals about what type of direct mail will work best for getting new business. Many swear by letters for their appearance of professionalism, while others like the low cost and high visibility of postcards. Overall, both seem to work adequately for bringing in new business. You just need to find which works best for you personally. For keeping in contact with past customers, however, the way to go is postcards. This is due to the fact that if your customers are not currently looking for a mortgage for themselves, they are far less likely to take the time to open a letter. That causes most of your “keep in touch” promo that is in envelopes to get thrown out before it ever gets read. Since the goal is recognition and not direct action you only need to get them to read the message. Postcards have the message visible when mailed, which means that while your customers are deciding what to read and what to throw out, they are already being exposed to your message. How Often Should I Send Promo? This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 10
  11. 11. You will want to mail a piece to your database every 30-60 days. Any longer than that and they may have already forgotten you when their friends are looking for a mortgage. Since you will want to send promo out often, you will need to keep your costs down. With postcards there are no envelope costs, no assembly costs and the postage is 30% less than letters. When using a mail house to send your postcards you can often get postage rates as low as 18¢ per piece. What Should Be On My Brand Recognition Pieces? There are some basic rules for the design of a brand recognition direct mail piece. Rule #1: Keep color consistent. Many times people fall into the trap of changing the look of their promo for the seasons or for the holidays. The thought is that people are thinking about Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day so they will respond better to promo with those colors. The truth is exactly opposite. Their senses are so flooded by those images that they actually start to skip right over them. Pick a color for your company and stick with it. You will do much better in building recognition. Rule #2: Make a logo and use it on every piece. Having a clean, professional logo is best. It may be a little pricey to have designed but in the end it is well worth the money. Experienced designers can often charge up to $2000 for a corporate identity package including logo, letterhead and business cards. If you aren’t looking to make that type of investment simply pick a type style for your company name and use it every time. Consistency is key because your logo is your main identification point. Rule #3: Make it Informative. Every piece should have something useful for your customers. Whether it is new information about the mortgage industry or even possible investment properties in their area, it can even be completely unrelated to the mortgage industry. A calendar or list of emergency numbers, even the old recipe card trick still works pretty well. Anything that is likely to be kept around will help to build recognition in the minds of your past customers. The mortgage industry has experienced a huge amount of growth over the past few years. Unfortunately this growth cannot last forever. At some point it is going slow down and the only way to keep your income in the range that you have become accustomed to is to ensure that you retain as many past customers as you possibly can. A direct mail campaign is the best way to do this, but remember, this type of program is a long term process. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t directly calculate the amount of money that you bring in right off the bat. What you are doing is burning your name into the minds of your customers. Eventually it will work out to you seeing less attrition and far more referrals. About The Author This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 11
  12. 12. Joe Niewierski, VP Marketing at PostcardMania, became a published writer after graduating with a BA in Advertising from USF. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 12
  13. 13. I Hate Asking for Referrals! – 6 Proven Methods for Getting a Flood of Referrals Without Asking Yes, I admit it - I hate asking for referrals - don’t you? Be honest. Doesn’t your heart start to pump faster and hands start to sweat even thinking about asking a customer for a referral? If you’re like me, you hate to impose on others. Asking for names of friends or family members almost makes you feel as though you’re selling a multi-level marketing opportunity. Not to worry. There are many ways to get a continual stream of qualified referrals without having to go through the painful process of asking for referrals face-to-face. The secret to getting referrals without asking for them is to develop referral systems that do the asking for you. Here are six innovative systems for getting referrals without asking. Referral System # 1 Make a list of people / businesses that sell complimentary products and services to your own product or service. If you sell athletic shoes your list might include health clubs, running clubs, basketball teams, or podiatrists. Now create a referral program that pays referral fees for people that are sent to you by your referral partners. To make this system more effective, give your referral partners customized coupons, tickets, or cards that the referral brings with them to your business so that you can correctly track each referral source. Referral System # 2 Approach charities in your local area to get a list of donors that already give to the charity. The United Way is a good place to start. Most United Way donors make advanced pledges or set goals to give a specified amount to the United Way. Now approach the executive sponsor of the United Way donation drive and make a proposal. Propose that for every referral that is sent from their organization to your business, This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 13
  14. 14. you will take a percentage of your sale and donate it to the United Way (or whatever charity they are affiliated with) in their name. Referral System # 3 Local churches are always looking for innovative ways to raise money to sustain the programs they offer to their members. Most churches would be enthusiastic about the opportunity to receive a donation from you or your business. Simply call up the ecclesiastical leader and ask if you can meet with him/her to talk about a potential fundraising activity. Propose that for every referral (church member) they send your way, you will donate a percentage of the sales to the church. In return, the church should agree to promote your business. This same referral tactic can be done with the booster clubs of local sports teams, Boy Scout troops and other organizations looking to raise money. Referral System # 4 The fourth referral system is very simple. Give your products or services away (or significant discounts on your products or services) in local raffles. In my hometown of Friendswood, Texas the local Ford dealer gives away a brand new truck in a 4th of July raffle through the local Chamber of Commerce. The tickets sold in the raffle go towards paying for the cost of the truck and the dealership gets to display the new truck for several months leading up to the raffle in high-profile areas provided by businesses that are members of the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, we found our financial planner through a raffle offered through the local Boy Scout troop. We “won” a full financial analysis and eventually purchased some of his products as a result of the raffle. Referral System # 5 Most everyone has a barber or hairstylist they use on a frequent basis, especially if you have children. I don’t know about you, but my barber always engages me in conversation during my haircut. And most barbers and hairstylists are very happy when you give them a $2 - $3 tip. Do you see where I’m going with this? Why not approach the local barbers and hairstylists and offer them $1 for every referral card they pass out to their customers. You might even motivate them to talk up your business by promising them a percentage of each sale that results from their referral. Referral System # 6 The last referral system will not only bring you referrals, but will also create a lot of goodwill. I learned this tactic, strangely enough, by Princess Diana and a local real estate agent. When Princess Diana died a close associate of hers was interviewed and revealed that Diana always carried a set of “royal” thank you notes. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 14
  15. 15. Every time she met with someone she would remember their names and as soon as she got in her car she would write a short thank you note to them. The people cherished the thank you notes they received from the Princess. After hearing that, I started to carry around my own box of thank you notes. But here’s what really will make this referral tactic take off. Not long ago I received an email from a subscriber to my Marketing Best Practices Newsletter that had this phrase under the man’s signature: By Referral Only By Referral Only...means: We invest 100% of our time and energy to delivering first-class service to our clients. As a result, our valued clients, suppliers, and friends refer their family, friends and work associates to us for advice on buying or selling real estate. We’re interested in building strong life long relationships one person at a time. You see, its not enough to send a thank you note. People need to know that you want and appreciate their referrals. The phrase, in essence, answers the question, “What can you do for me in return for this nice thank you card?” Immediately, I had this phrase printed on the bottom of my thank you notes and my referrals took off. Conclusion Each of these referral tactics that I have shared with you are s-y-s-t-e-m-s. They motivate others to generate referrals for you without you having to play the role of the beggar and asking for referrals face-to-face. The best thing you can do to excite your referral partners is to get them to experience your product or services themselves. Then they can talk about it with first-hand knowledge. It will not only make them more credible to others but once they’ve experienced the benefits of what you have to offer, they will be more excited to tell others about it. In the referral systems that require you to pay referral fees, make sure you pay quickly, honestly, and with gratitude. Always give your referral partner the benefit of the doubt. If you treat them right, you will be the benefactor. About The Author David Frey is the author of the best-selling manual, “The Small Business Marketing Bible” and the Senior Editor of the “Small Business Marketing Best Practices Newsletter.” To get your free lifetime subscription visit http:// www.MarketingBestPractices.com. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 15
  16. 16. Getting Referrals Referrals A substantial part of your business can come from referrals. The key is to provide extraordinary customer service and educate your clients and influencers to this fact. You must actively cultivate referrals; otherwise you’re just leaving it to chance. Referrals Start with Great Service The foundation of great referrals is great customer service. A large part of your business can be generated through referrals. Make an investment in your business and your client’s satisfaction by doing excellent work. Characteristics of a Referral Source Understanding the characteristics of a strong referral source, allows you to spend your time with the most qualified prospects. Below are the conditions of the optimum referral source: Must have a relationship with your target client Must understand your target client profile Must be educated on what you do Must respect you and your company Must be respected by your target client Must be motivated to refer clients to you Existing Clients You should regularly ask for referrals and you should have a formal referral program with your existing client base. We simply send a letter out regularly to our clients explaining that we would rather spend our money enhancing our services then marketing for business. We ask for referrals. We send coupons that can be distributed, business cards, and newsletters that can be forwarded. We’re not pushy; we just are up front that if they are satisfied with our services they should recommend us. Complimentary Vendors With other vendors you need to be more formal about your referral arrangement. The promise of mutual reciprocation rarely works. Immediate gratification does. If you’re clear about the value of the client calculated earlier in this section, then be generous with your fellow This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 16
  17. 17. vendors when they bring in a client. If you’re going to make a profit of $10,000 over the life of the client, writing a check for $1000 to the referral source shouldn’t be painful. You may have friendships with some of these vendors but they’re also business people and should be concerned that they spend time improving their bottom line. When you propose a solid cause and effect financial arrangement, you’ll get significantly better results. Evaluate all the businesses that are non-competitive but end up doing business with your target client. Examples of this are: Cabling Companies Management consultants Phone Companies Software Companies VARs Hardware Companies Make it worth their while and put the offer in writing. It could be a major source of new leads for you. Seminar Participants If you provide great value at your seminars, this could lead to a lucrative referral pipeline. But like anything else, you must consciously cultivate the referrals. Include extra business cards or coupons in the seminar package and on your evaluation questionnaire, specifically ask if there is somebody the participant knows that could use your services or should receive a discount coupon for the next seminar. Ask and you shall receive. Professional Services Some of the best referral sources you have available are from those that provide your company professional services. You’re their client, so they’re naturally inclined to provide extra value. They also have a great deal of insight into the work you do and your success. Examples are: Bankers Leasing agents Commercial real estate broker Accountants Attorneys Secondary sources that could surprise you are: Regular delivery people Vendor contacts; office supplies, hardware, etc. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 17
  18. 18. Cleaning services; contact the managers or owners Cultivate and groom these sources of referrals. Behave professionally in all of your interactions. Keep them informed on new clients, products and services, press and so on. Supply them with business cards and actively ask for referrals. Other Referral Sources There are other referrals sources that may have already generated business for you without having a formal referral system in place: Friends Members of your church Neighbors Employees Prospects – If they don’t buy, ask for a referral Members of other organizations you’re associated with – school, political, etc. When to Ask for Referrals You should always be asking for referrals if you deliver a quality product or service. There are times when you’ll get better results than others. Here are some guidelines for when to ask for referrals: After signing a contract. Periodically with a letter, say once a quarter When successfully completing a project and your client signs the final approval. When a prospect turns you down. Guilt is a beautiful thing. When you’re doing a client satisfaction survey. When you’re calling an inactive client. When you’re calling an active client. If you’re unclear on how to ask for a referral, here are some variations to try: “It was a real pleasure working with you and I look forward to our next project together. In the meantime, if you know somebody that needs quality software development services, I hope that you pass on what a good experience you had with our company and have them give us a call.” “I’m glad things are going well for you. Do you have any acquaintances that might need my company’s services?” Keep Them Informed This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 18
  19. 19. You should keep the referral source informed during the early part of the new relationship. You’ll get a sense of how much but at least make a call and tell the source “Thank you” for the referral. Inform them that you’ve met, started a contract and then simply ask them if they want to stay informed on their referral. You should almost always send a letter thanking the referral source. It’s polite and prudent. If it makes sense, you can send them a credit for your services, a dinner for two or tickets to a ball game. Show your appreciation. Motivating Referral Sources Motivating the referral source depends on the kind of relationship you have with them. If it’s an existing client, it may be as simple as just providing stellar service and actively requesting the referral. For vendors and professional relationships, setting up a formal commission that is attractive is more effective. And don’t forget to give referrals yourself. If you can comfortably recommend a company, you’ll build reciprocation credits and it doesn’t take a lot of effort on you’re part. The key is to refer only businesses that can really deliver and then make sure you follow-up with the vendor to see how the relationship is going. About The Author Bryan Brandenburg has published 5 books as well as a number of articles both in print and on the internet. He has published almost 30 software programs both for consumers and business. More information can be found at www.vmmg.net. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 19
  20. 20. Use Email Technology to Boost Referrals With Internet technology, businesses can use email to grow referral business by stimulating and tracking word of mouth. The right tools and incentives make all the difference in turning customers into referral advocates through compelling messages that can be easily forwarded on to others. A referral always begins with word-of-mouth and the Internet is the perfect breeding ground for word of mouth advertising, also known as viral marketing. Our communication has been monumentally affected by the convenience and universality of email, and a targeted consistent email campaign that includes an incentive of some kind, not only gives your customer advocates something of value to pass along, but it also gives them the vehicle with which to pass it. Emails can be forwarded on and easily stored, able to be retrieved at a later date. And when a prospect receives a promotional email with a discount offer from a trusted source, they become a warm lead. A warm lead is 64% more likely to become a customer than a “cold” lead. Your chances of getting business from a referral are far greater than placing an ad in a magazine or newspaper. With permission-based emails, your message can be seen and heard by potentially thousands of warm prospects that you could never get to any other way. And when you combine your referral marketing efforts with other synergistic businesses, the referral potential grows exponentially based not only on your warm contacts, but on the warm contacts of your reciprocating referral partners. Never before has there been a medium so powerful in breaking through ad clutter by electronically introducing your business to a warm market. The best time to send your referral email, along with incentives, is after each sale and on a monthly or quarterly basis with an eNewsletter, to keep your business top of mind. About The Author Diana D’Itri is the co-founder of Ravebiz.com, a leading referral marketing and technology company that specializes in boosting online referral lead generation through its innovative eReferral system software. She’s a key driving force behind educating clients on how to generate more quality This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 20
  21. 21. referred customers through practical applications and an automated, web based system. Referrals: Getting Good Business By Doing Good Business Whether you’re a conventional sales person, a professional – such as a dentist or lawyer or doctor – or a business owner, you’ve got to have clients to stay in business. There are several ways to do this: either continue to find new customers, keep all of the customers you’ve ever had, get old clients to return, or get customers to send in referrals. In this essay, we’ll focus on getting old clients to come back and referrals. How do you get them? How do you ask for them? How do people choose to come back? How can you get people back when they don’t want to come back? I recently did a keynote at a Dentist’s Conference. The dentists were very uncomfortable asking for business, assuming that if they gave great care, had good patient relations, and had a wonderful office, the patients would know they were supposed to come back. Except 50% or more didn’t return. I suggested the following action: call the patient and say: “Hi Mr. Jones. Dr. Smith here. I just realized that the last time we saw you was 8 months ago. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts about coming back for additional care? I’d love to take care of your dental hygiene with you, and wonder what you’d need to see from me to feel comfortable coming back for follow up?” USING FACILITATIVE QUESTIONS TO KEEP CLIENTS ACTIVE Facilitative Questions like this will help clients who have bought your product at least once to decide to come back again. But, how do you get folks to bring in their friends, short of asking them point blank: “Would you refer your friends for me please?” Obviously, whether or not to use you, or choose your product, is a decision the person or company has to make. How do they choose to go out of their way to tell their friends or colleagues about you? Here are some ideas: This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 21
  22. 22. If you own a company, your product and your service will bias further business opportunities. Get to know how customers perceive your product and service (and the service is even more important than the product). In some way connect and ask if you’ve given them what they deserve, and ask what they need to consider in order to recommend that their friends to do business with you: * send a questionnaire; * call the client to make sure they are happy; * send an email; * offer a gift – 10% off next purchase, etc. Whatever it is, make sure it’s easy for them to administer. There have been many gifts I’ve been offered if I make a referral but the gift is too difficult to get to – either it’s technology that I have a difficult time downloading, or something I have to send away for. Too hard. REFERRALS THROUGH FACILITATION The other thing you can do is use a Facilitative Question that helps the client – or patient – decide to take an action: “I hope you enjoyed the support/product/care you got from us. I’m also hoping that we made you happy enough to tell your friends about us, so that maybe we can offer your friends and colleagues the same level of care that we offered you. What would you need to see from me to know we could support folks you know, and make it comfortable for you to refer us?” For some reason, we all assume that if we do good work, we’ll be referred. But sometimes, people just plain forget. And sometimes, we’ve left something undone that makes it difficult to fix because we don’t know we’ve done anything. People who come back on their own return because you’re giving them what they want in a way that they want it. If they don’t like what they got from you, they won’t come back – and, most likely won’t offer you the reason unless you ask specifically (most people either don’t want to bother when they’ve gotten back service, or would be willing to tell you if you specifically asked). I was doing some phone coaching with a long-standing client once. I listened while he had a delightful conversation with an old client whom he hadn’t done business with for a while. They spoke about social things – their vacations, their families, their jobs. It was obvious that no business was mentioned: it was, in his terms, a ‘relationship call’. I wrote a Facilitative Question down on the paper in front of him, and my client – as per arrangement - repeated it to his client: “I’ve noticed that your patterns went from giving us regular orders to giving us no business at all. What has stopped you from doing business with us recently?” The client gave a surprising answer: “Last time we did business, you left us with an implementation problem that you didn’t fix. We asked you 3 times to come back in and fix it, and you claimed it wasn’t your problem, but This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 22
  23. 23. that we had created the problem internally. So we hired a consultant who fixed the problem for us and it cost us $8,000. After that we had to take your name off of our preferred vendor list and we aren’t allowed to use you again. But since I’ve always liked you, I’ve been willing to have these social conversations with you.” My client went white. He was stuck – his client had tried to discuss the problem, and the response was inadequate. Asking him for more business, or a referral, was not appropriate. For those of you who are curious, we did solve the problem by using a Facilitative Question and an apology: “My goodness! What a mess I left you in. I’m so, so sorry and sad, and we deserve not to do business with you anymore. And I’m angry with myself that I didn’t even ask until now. What would you need to see from me to be willing to let us to make it up to you somehow? I would like to get to the point in which we could find a way to work together again, if that would ever be possible, but certainly not until you are in a position to trust us again. How can I go forward now in order to right that wrong?” THE EGO PROBLEM The biggest problem with asking for referrals is our egos. We want to be able to say, “Look at ME! Did I give you a great product/service, or WHAT? Don’t you think you should have your buddies give me some business now?” But of course we can’t do that. So we follow the business route: send out questionnaires, get evaluations, offer promos. But I’m a big believer in calling clients specifically to request referrals, and to use that time to get some unexpected feedback on how you’re really doing. Here are a couple of questions you might ask clients: * “How did you experience our overall service? How could it have been improved?” * “What would you have needed to see from me/us to be willing to pass on our names to others?” By using Facilitative Questions, you can not only help your clients decide how to refer you, but help them decide how to help you be even better than you already are. We can always be better, but we need our clients to tell us how. About the Author Sharon Drew Morgen is the author of NYTimes Best seller Selling with Integrity. She speaks, teaches and consults globally around her elegant, doable sales model, Buying Facilitation. http://www.newsalesparadigm.com This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 23
  24. 24. Effortless Networking: A Better Way to ask for Referrals Do you know how to ask for what you want in a way that gets you results, especially when it comes to asking for referrals? When asking anyone for anything, there are 5 key elements to keep in mind (and use). When you do, it dramatically increases your chances of getting what you want. One of these elements is making sure that the person you’re asking, is willing and able to do what you want. And this is one of the things most people often overlook, when asking for referrals. Think about the last time you asked someone for a referral. Did you check first to see if he or she was willing and able to give you the kind of referral(s) you wanted? Either way, did you get what you wanted? Why or why not? Well, here’s an example of how you can apply the concept of verifying someone is willing and able to do what you want, when asking for a referral. Let’s say you have a “lead” that you think is a good prospect for you. This “lead” could be a person or an organization. And since it’s a “lead”, it means that you probably don’t know each other. So any conversation you have with them would have to start with a cold call. (For the difference between leads and referrals, look for my article on this topic.) Now, let’s also say that you think one of your long-time customers may know this lead. So you approach this long-time customer for help. (By the way, this is another good example of networking -- leveraging existing relationships.) Ideally, you want this customer to refer you to the “lead”, so you can avoid a cold call. But you start with a small, manageable request: you simply ask whether your customer knows the lead. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 24
  25. 25. If yes, you make another small request: would your customer be willing to share some information about this lead based on their working relationship, so you can decide whether this lead is a good fit for your products/services. Through these incremental questions and conversation, you gradually work your way up to your final question: would your customer be willing to introduce you to this lead? And when doing so, also explain to the lead why he or she was making the introduction? At this stage, if your customer agrees, you’ve accomplished several things: you’ve converted a “lead” into a “referral”, you’ve avoided a cold call, and you’ve greatly increased your chances of actually talking with this referral. You may have also acquired useful information from your customer about this prospect, which you can use to your advantage during your conversation with the prospect. If you notice, throughout this example, you asked for very specific and “manageable” things, and each time you checked in to make sure the person was in a position to give you those specific things. And in the end, these small, incremental requests added up to getting you exactly what you wanted. This is just one example. However, you can probably see that the same principle can be easily applied to any conversation or situation. Sri Dasgupta helps business professionals get better results from their business networking efforts. She is the author of the Effortless Networking, and writes regular articles offering business networking tips and related resources. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 25
  26. 26. Acknowledging Referrals! What’s in It For You? I grew up in a household where saying thank you was a code of behavior that was absolutely essential. There were simply no exceptions. A thank you note was sent immediately for any gift received or for any kind or decent action. The Art of Saying Thank You! I have to confess that as a young girl I thought it was unnecessary to write a thank you note since I already said thank you when receiving the gift. Yet today, I’m grateful to my parents for instilling in me the art of saying thank you. Why? Because I’ve come to realize that it does just as much for me when I say thank you as it does for the recipient. Not only does saying thank you with sincerity show appreciation to another for their efforts of kindness and support, but it makes the giver of the acknowledgement feel empowered as well! Making Others Feel Valued! Which brings me to referrals. We may think what we do in business is primarily for the money and in truth a good bit of it is, but an aspect that we overlook is that we’re really all trying to make connections with people that value what we provide. Do you take the time to acknowledge the referrals you receive so that it makes the other person feel valued? Or do you simply take the referral for granted and ignore the fact that someone thought enough of you to send you a client? The point to consider is that when you acknowledge others through a note or card or show appreciation through a monetary gift, they are more inclined to refer you again. But if you ignore the referral and say or do nothing, more then likely they’ll stop sending referrals. Acknowledgement Enhances Business Relationships! Perhaps it wasn’t instilled in you to send an added thank you note or you might think it doesn’t really matter, but let me assure you, it does. Saying thank you always conveys appreciation for what another has done for you and let’s them know how you truly feel. I am often surprised at how few people realize what a little bit of acknowledgment can do for a business relationship. It’s such a simple act, yet so many people forget to acknowledge others who have helped them along the way. And if you stop and realize it, most of us wouldn’t be where we are without the assistance of others. At the Cornerstone of Success! This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 26
  27. 27. Acknowledging another is in fact at the cornerstone of success and is an important element to both feeling good and conveying professionalism. But bear in mind a thank you should not be a canned expression of gratitude, but instead should be a genuine response to those who have made a difference in your life. By sincerely acknowledging a person who has sent you a referral you are in fact making a contribution to their happiness. How, you may ask? We all need to be acknowledged and when expressing gratitude and appreciation for an unsolicited act, you are showing that person that they matter. In turn, you feel good for making someone else feel good. Saying thank you to someone who has helped you in business is critical to your success because acknowledgment in some form or another is at the root of why we do things. Don’t take referrals for granted. The next time you receive a referral from someone, take the time to say thank you. Not only will you feel good when you extend yourself, but acknowledging and following up on referrals is in fact the number one trait of successful people. Show your appreciation to those who send you referrals in some tangible way. You can send a note, buy them a coffee card or give them a small percentage of what you earned through the referral. Remember every person that comes to your through a referral is helping your business grow. And showing your appreciation through a note or small monetary gift will go a long way in your efforts as a successful businessperson as well as a successful human being. About the Author Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Writing Stylist/Consultant to her creative efforts as a freelance writer. She has successfully helped companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing exceptional web site content, press releases, bios, and articles of interest, business plans and all other forms of marketing material. You may visit Charlene Rashkow at http://www.allyourwritingneeds.com This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 27
  28. 28. Referral Marketing: Secret to Income Explosion Breakthroughs You’ve seen it happen. You want to be part of the explosion. You want part of the rock. But how do you get there from – well, here? Two words. Referral Marketing. With every contact, if they’re interested, ask for referrals. If they are not interested, ask for referrals. Ask for referrals from family and friends, family, enemies, and neighbors. Put your referral contacts on paper, list who referred them and something about the person. Announce your referral as you introduce yourself, your business, and your purpose to them. “Hi, I’m Jan with Referral Marketing, our friend Julie gave me your name, Peter. She said you might be interested in talking with me about referral marketing. She was extremely impressed with your dog Bozo, tell me about him.” You’ve just made a friend because you knew his name, a friend introduced you, and you asked about his dog (or whatever interest Julie told you about him). Your secret weapon with referral marketing is the introduction. The breakthrough is in your follow through of continuing to be interested in what you can do for them. “Peter, Bozo sounds like an amazing Animal, Julie mentioned you like to show him at Dog shows, and I’ve got a product that might help you accomplish that. With Referral Marketing our purpose is networking and building business contacts. What would you think about meeting so I could show you how to get contacts within your area of interest who would be helpful in getting Bozo into the State Supreme Dog Show?” You do, by the way, have to do your homework and know how “Referral Marketing” (your business) can help him with his “area of interest” and have a plan for making the sale. Never make promises or imply something that you can’t do, but if you know your product, and you have an open mind about what it can accomplish, you should be able to find something that you can do for this client, once you begin to know more about them. Whatever your product is, you need enough variety and open doors to get you to the point of sale. Sell one product to this customer, make him happy with that product and bring him back for more. Don’t forget to ask for Referrals. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 28
  29. 29. “Peter, do you have any friends who might be interested in Referral Marketing? I’d sure like to help them out too.” And start writing your list of referrals. Send Peter a Thank you note for the referrals he’s given you and the business you’ve gained from his sale. About the Author Simple marketing strategies equal explosive income. The Secret to building a solid business is in your marketing foundation. Put the basics together the right way, with the power to motivate and impact your market and your business will stand tall and profitable on a strong foundation. Marketing Guru Jan Verhoeff shares the SECRET to explosive Impact Marketing at http://janverhoeff.com This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 29
  30. 30. Increase Your Sales By Putting A Referral System In Place Most businesses spend all of their time, effort, and money on conventional marketing. By conventional marketing I mean marketing by direct mail, display advertising, radio and television, and the Internet. A far more cost-effective way of marketing which will produce many times more results is developing a formalized referral system. If you analyze where your customers come from right now, you’ll probably find that many of your new customers actually come from referrals. Look at how many referrals you get without even knowing it. If you double that number and then double it again, the increase in your sales and profits will be tremendous. People who have been referred to you will usually will spend more money, they will buy more often, and they are more loyal. They are also much easier to deal with and because they were referred by a friend or a colleague they are usually less demanding. Referrals are easy to get and they are self-perpetuating, if you have a referral system in place. One of the big reasons most businesses don’t get referrals is because they simply don’t ask for them. For example, every time you deal with a customer in person, by phone, letter, or even e-mail, ask them for referrals. But, before you can get referrals you first, must set the stage and ask for them in the right way. You in essence have to help your customers locate the exact referral you want. You should tell your customer that you really enjoy doing business with them and you value them as a friend and a customer. Tell them you are looking for other customers like themselves who have the same values and qualities. Tell them that you’d like to extend to them the opportunity of referring their valued and trusted associates to you. Let them know that you would appreciate and value their referrals more than any other source of customers. At this point, you have to help your customer see a clear picture of the type of referral you are looking for. Help your customer think of who in his or her life could benefit the most from your product or service. What type of person or business could best utilize your product or service? How could they best use your product or service? Ask them to go through their rolodex and think about people who they regularly associate with. For example, their colleagues, customers, relatives, employees, and vendors. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 30
  31. 31. After, they’ve come up with two or three people, make them an offer to talk or consult with the person they are referring to you at no cost or obligation. In other words offer to consult with the person whom they have referred without expectation of purchase. By doing this it allows your customer to see you as a valued expert with whom he or she can put their friends or colleagues in touch. Studies show that within the first thirty days after a purchase there is what as call a “moment of maximum satisfaction.” This is the time when the customer is thinking about and is the happiest with his or her purchase. So, once you have thanked the customer for his or her purchase and made sure her or she is satisfied, then you need to ask for referrals. There are other times that are good to ask for referrals as well. For example you could ask for referrals after you’ve given your customer a large refund, paid off a claim, or fulfilled your promised service or obligation. Never ask for more than three referrals at one time. The action of asking them for referrals will get the customer thinking and after they give your three referrals often times you’ll hear from they a few days later to give you a few more referrals. As a courtesy, always keep your customer informed as to how your relationship is going with the person whom he or she referred to you. I’ve seen sales literally tripled in six months or less when a business put in a customer- referral system. I can’t guarantee that you will triple your sales in six months, but if you have satisfied customers you will see an increase is sales very quickly by putting in a referral system. You have to ask for referrals. Don’t be shy! If you don’t ask for referrals you’ll rarely get them. About the Author Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 31
  32. 32. Referrals - How to Get Them Referrals are an extension of Networking. If people like you and like the sound of your product or service, then there’s a good chance they’ll tell other people about you. If they already use your product or service and are totally satisfied, then there’s also a good chance that they’ll recommend you to others. However, that won’t always happen - people won’t necessarily go around singing your praises to other people, unless someone asks them about you. You can, however, take various actions to improve your chances of getting referrals: *Ask people - Ask your existing customers if there’s anyone else they know who could use your product or service. *Ask if it’s okay to contact them - and if it’s okay to use their name *Ask them - if they’d be kind enough to refer you to the other person *Ask if it’s okay to check back - and find out what the other person said. (This encourages the person you’re speaking to - to refer you) *Offer incentives - Offer free product, a discount or a prize to an existing customer who refers you to a new customer. e.g. If I bring a new member to my health club, my name is entered into a draw for a new car *Offer a “finders fee” - to anyone who finds you new business or donate money to their charities *Have a referral form - This needs to be a simple document that you hand out to customers or give away at events or even post to people. It needs to say something like - “Who do you know who could use our product or service?” Then leave some blanks on the form for the details. Mention what the incentive or reward is for them to do this. *Ask for letters of recommendation - Always ask existing customers for some comments you can use on sales letters, your web site or brochure. *Listen for referrals - Keep your ears open for referrals. Often a customer will make a throwaway remark - “My brother- in- law suffers from the same problems in his business as I do.” You then, ask politely about the brother-in-law’s business and if it would be okay to contact him. (This seems so simple but many people don’t pick up these remarks or do anything about them.) This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 32
  33. 33. *Thank people for referrals - When new customers contact you, ask them how they heard about you. (You should always do this so that you can evaluate your advertising or promotional activity) If they tell you that they’ve been referred by someone else - send a thank you note to the referrer. It’ll encourage them to refer more people. *You refer business to them - It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine story” Tell people about businesses you’d recommend. If you think they’ll do something about it - phone your contact at the business you’ve recommended. Tell them - “Watch out for so and so who’s going to phone or come and see you.” Pass on any details you have and hopefully they’ll do the same for you one day. About the Author Discover how you can generate more business without having to cold call! Alan Fairweather is the author of “How to get More Sales without Selling” This book is packed with practical things that you can do to – get customers to come to you . Click here now http://www.howtogetmoresales.com This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 33
  34. 34. Effective Business Networking: 5 Tips For Mastering The Art of Networking The heart of any business is the connection it has with other businesses and individuals that it can call upon to help meet its needs. Networking - any activity designed to create, maintain and utilize interpersonal connections - is an essential business skill. But not all business people take the time to truly master. However, without a solid understanding of how to network effectively and efficiently, no business can make the vital connections that it needs to survive and prosper in today’s super-connected economy. Here are some tips you can use to increase your networking - and business - success Go with a goal. One of the first and most common mistakes that people make when entering a networking situation (planned or otherwise) is to fail to have a firm goal in mind. Are you looking to acquire new prospects, meet colleagues for possible collaborations, create a mutual referral partnership, create name recognition for you and your business, find funding or just “shop around” for interesting news and trends you can use? If you haven’t taken the time to determine what your goals are for the encounters ahead, you will have a hard time meeting them. Of course, most businesses have several different needs, but in many cases any given networking opportunity is unlikely to provide more than one or two types of results, depending on the situation at hand. For example, if you are attending an event made up primarily of others in your industry or trade, you are unlikely to meet prospects, since everyone will be a provider just like you, nor are you likely to find referral partners, since almost everyone will be a direct competitor. So if your primary needs are clients and referrals, such events, while not an entire waste of time, might not be your best use of it. On the other hand, if you are desperately seeking a partner to expand or are looking to find out the latest, greatest technology in the field to offer to your client base, then you’re definitely going to be in the right place. Hone your message. When someone asks you what you do, can you articulate not only your business but it’s benefit to them in a clear and concise manner? How about your “elevator speech” or 15-second intro - is it crisp, to the point and compelling, or do people’s eyes glaze over before you get to the end? This is not the time to give a dry and deadly-dull job description. Save that for your resume. When someone asks about you and your business, you are being given a golden, but brief, opportunity to knock his or her socks off and to persuade them that you are the best thing to happen to them since sliced bread. Make sure you do so. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 34
  35. 35. Important - leave your sales pitch at home! Networking is networking, and sales is sales. Confuse the two and you’ll lose out on both. Nobody wants to be sold to, especially when they’re quite plainly not in a sales environment. And remember that anyone who tries to work a networking event under the “three-foot rule” (anyone within three feet is an opportunity to make a sale) is likely to find others unwilling to get within three feet of them in a very short period of time. Check your gear. Make sure that you have everything you need to make a great impression. Are your business cards or other hand-outs up to date, and as professional-looking as you can make them? If this is a planned event, do you know who will be attending and have you isolated a few people you definitely want to make sure to meet, or are you going in blind and resigned to winging it? And don’t forget to double-check the time, date and venue. Nothing is more irritating than showing up only to find that you’re too early, too late or unable to find a parking space closer than a quarter-mile away. Educate your audience. Are you seeking a collaborative partner for a project? Then make sure everyone knows what the project is and what sort of partner you are looking for (and the general parameters of the partnership they’ll be investing their time into). If you’re looking for referrals, then do your potential referral sources know what constitutes a good referral for you? It’s a waste of your time and a drain on your referrer’s good will and reputation if you turn down or do a bad job for everyone they send to you because the referrals were inappropriate. Likewise, a well-educated referral source might wind up sending you fewer referrals, but those are much more likely to be quality prospects that have a high probability of becoming solid clients. On the other hand, if you are directly prospecting do your prospects know that you’re the answer to their prayers and why? Remember that all prospects are tuned into station WII-FM - What’s In It For Me - and unless you make sure that they know why they should consider working with you, they won’t. Follow through. The most important part of networking happens after the initial contact. The best impression, the snappiest laser marketing message and the deepest desire to work together will all come to naught if they don’t hear from you in a timely manner - or even worse, never hear from you at all. No matter who said what about calling whom, always follow up promptly and in a manner designed to strengthen the relationship and add value for the other person. A simple follow-up email may be okay for old contacts touching base, but for a new contact that can provide you with crucial funding or superior referrals, or a hot prospect itching to clear your warehouse of your top-shelf merchandise your follow through needs to have all the finesse, power and elegance of a figure skater’s best jump - and all the holding power of a solid landing. There are three keys to an effective follow through: It reinforces the original intent of the contact. Refer to your original conversation, restating any key points and reaffirming any agreements that were made or intimated. Follow through on This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 35
  36. 36. any promises you made to deliver information, provide samples, initiate a meeting, put through a request, whatever - before the follow-up call, unless time constraints or lead-time make that impossible. It carries the scent of enthusiasm without the stench of desperation. Follow up as promptly and as regularly or frequently as the circumstance warrants, but don’t turn into a stalker or a pest. And if you can find a way to add value to the relationship through your skills, influence, position or connections, by all means offer to do so, but don’t cross the line from generous associate to obsequious sycophant. And if the other person makes it clear that they are not interested, move on. “Kicking and screaming” is not an acceptable level of participation in networking, and neither is “beaten into submission.” It includes the seeds for the next contact. Don’t get caught in the dead-end follow up. Unless it is clear that no further relationship is warranted or desired, make sure that there is some agreement on a next step or arrangement made to continue the conversation. Make that phone call and at the end, set up an appointment for lunch a few weeks down the road. At lunch, offer to forward an important report or offer to broker a desirable introduction to someone higher up the food chain, and so on. Make sure you never leave the table without an invitation to resume your seat at a later date. Like a good golf swing or a stunning presentation, effective networking boils down to three essential stages of activity: preparation, delivery and follow through. And like an electrical circuit with a short or a break, a failure at any of these points stops the flow of life-giving connective energy - the healthy and continually renewed cycle of which your business requires to maintain a strong, stable potential for growth, resilience and success. Mastering the art of effective networking, like any other business activity, requires time, dedication and attention. But in the end, the dividends it pays are well worth the time it took to cultivate them. Take the time to master these five tips and you will be amply rewarded with the prodigious fruits of your networking labor. About the Author Soni Pitts is a Personal and Spiritual Development Coach who specializes in helping people break free of “life as seen on tv” and reclaim the sacredness of living. Get your copy of her free e-book “50 Ways To Reach Your Goals” and over 100 self-help and inspirational articles, as well as other products and resources, at http://www.sonipitts.com. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 36
  37. 37. WOMM! Word of Mouth Marketing It is considered that to be successful in the Design and Decorating business, that nearly 90% of leads should come from referrals. Why do we constantly throw money at other forms of marketing, when a good referral system can give you the highest return on your investment and a consistent flow of leads? You must adopt a referral mind set. Everything you do in your business should be to develop a system of getting referrals. Ten reasons to focus on referrals: 1) Unlike advertising, your results from a referral program can be easily measured. Referrals tell you exactly who referred them. 2) Referrals are the best return on your marketing dollar. 3) With every referral, your client is giving a great testimonial on your behalf. 4) Happy clients are the best sales force that a company can have, they become your advocates! 5) Each time a client gives you a referral, you have an opportunity to make them look like a hero. 6) A flowing pipeline of referrals puts you at ease. 7) Clients feel that they are reducing their risk of making a bad decision when they buy from a referral. 8) Phone messages to a new prospect usually gets returned if it comes through a referral. 9) Trust is obtained faster through a referral. 10) Referral marketing is your best opportunity to success! You have heard of the lifetime value of a client? Think about the value when the same client gives you several referrals over time and those referrals give you referrals. How do we generate referrals? First and foremost you must have an excellent client fulfilment system. Unless the job is done right, even your own mother won’t refer you! Are you communicating often with your client before, during and after the job? This is critical to instilling the gospel of spreading the word, “We want referrals!” I believe that you must get your clients to complain! If they don’t complain, you won’t know their problems and you can’t fix it. If one client is having a problem, maybe others are too. You This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 37
  38. 38. may need to fix your system. Research shows, if clients don’t complain, they are likely to go quietly to the competition. Unhappy clients, tell others, a reverse referral. In order to generate referrals you must find your “center of influence,” who is your target market? In our industry its women 35-65. Do you know that 85 percent of all consumer buying decisions are made by women. Your task is to find them, and to create a message that appeals to this segment. How to find them: 1) Try Cross Promotional Networking and distribute brochures at other noncompeting businesses that serve the same clientele. Offer to cooperate and display brochures at your place too. If you don’t have a showroom, create a “Friends” book of useful and referable businesses. 2) Go to networking events of where women go. Don’t waste your time on trying to network to the wrong market. When you find such a group, have a great 10 second announcement to introduce yourself. 3) Offer your services as a speaker to women’s groups. Prepare a non-sales, informative decorating seminar. Organizations are always looking for interesting topics for their meetings. 4) Testimonials are a must for any handouts or web site content. The challenges I have heard are, that it is difficult and time consuming to get them. It shouldn’t be, in fact, the best testimonials are short quotes from your customers. “I love my drapes,” or “This is better then I expected!” and so on. Record the quotes, and the name of the customers on a page and don’t forget to ask for permission. Testimonials will instill confidence. 5) Print “I Love Referrals” heart stickers and put them on all your correspondence. 6) Create a Designer Referral Card System. Start with a thank-you card, a month later, send a referral card, and for each month keep in touch with your client with birthday cards, holiday cards, decorating idea cards. The more you stay in touch, the more she will remember you when someone asks for someone she knows to help them with decorating. There are three types of referrals: 1) Unsolicited, from doing a good job. 2) Word of mouth, from people who know of you, but didn’t do business with you. 3) Solicited, from your clients after a job well done. The Advocate Referral System How do you ask your clients for referrals? During a visit after the installation, ask her: *Was she happy with the value you have provided? *Is there anything where you can improve to make the experience better? *Is there future work to be done? *Ask her for birthdays of her family members. *Ask her for a name of a friend or family you can call. * Have a small gift as a Thank you. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 38
  39. 39. Neil Gordon learned from his grandfather how to cut roller shades at the tender age of 10. As a third generation retailer he learned from his parents and grandparents, the subtleties of running a housewares business. These powerful role models taught him great lessons in the value of making their customers happy and coming back for more. The years growing up in a housewares store in New York prepared him for his eventual career in the field of decorating. At the age of 28, he started his first business as a custom drapery workroom to the trade located in Boca Raton, Florida, where he built a successful window treatment company. In 1991, he relocated back to his childhood roots in New York and established Decorating with Fabric. Decorating with Fabric is a custom workroom, fabricating window treatments, bedding treatments and upholstery. During the past 14 years, Decorating with Fabric has created fabulous treatments for thousands of delighted clients throughout the eastern seaboard. You can contact Neil at The Designer’s Coach http://www.thedesignerscoach.com This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 39
  40. 40. How to Stimulate Even More Customer Referrals! Have you ever wondered how you can influence customer referrals? Today I will show you can get your customers to bring more customers to you like a magnet. A few years ago I was invited to a dinner and dance launch party of a new car (the company name will remain anonymous) I already had the previous model of this car, which I was happy with. I learnt that the company exclusively invited all their car owners in their database. It was a black tie affair, champagne, comedians, cocktails, exotic foods etc. It really was a nice setting. To cut a long story short, there was this massive build up before they unveiled this new model of car, which they did with fireworks and dancers, it really was spectacular. The funny thing was that once I had seen the car I did not think much of it as it looked more or less like the old model, which I already had. Anyway, about a year later I was driving pass the same company’s showroom and popped in to have a look at the new model. Guess what, I bought the new model and part-exchanged my older model. So as you can see, all that glitz and glamour paid off for them in the long run. If you therefore have direct contact with your customers, stage events where loyal customers can and are motivated to bring their friends to you, you will then have a captive audience of potential customers or clients. Examples of this are; product previews, product sample evenings, free seminars, prize draw giveaways etc. Try this, it really works. This is an excerpt from my marketing book “45 Powerful Marketing Strategies That Will Not Only Make Your Business GROW! But Will Also Make You More Profits! Keep a look out for more of my Powerful Strategies coming soon. Ken Ajoku is the author of “45 Powerful Marketing Strategies”. To receive for FREE “The Secrets of Powerful Marketing”, a seven part course by email worth £199.99 visit http://www.kajoku.biz now! This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 40
  41. 41. Referral Business: 3 Steps to Generating Unlimited Referrals Every sales person knows referral business is vitally important. But how do you generate enough referrals to triple your sales and commissions? That’s easy, keep reading and I will share three sure fire steps to creating massive referrals for your business: --Step#1: Wow your clients: The first step to generating referral business is to go out of your way to demonstrate a high level of service to EVERYONE who comes in contact with your business - not just clients. Everyone who comes in contact with syour business is a potential customer or referral source. As a mortgage lender, I’ve had service people come into my office, see how we do business, and ask about refinancing. But how do you “wow” your clients and others to generate referral business?Basically, you will need to be honest, knowledgeable, friendly, professional, and deliver on your promises. Exceed their expectations. Set yourself up to succeed.The task has been completed you’ll look like a superstar because you exceeded their expectation. In short, deliver ahead of schedule. Communicate proactively. Find out why your clients call and stop them from calling by answering all questions ahead of time. In the mortgage business, I found that clients and everyone else involved in the transaction would call for status updates. So I put a system in place to communicate updates to everyone automatically. Now, my phone doesn’t ring because clients get regular scheduled updates. Give unexpected bonuses. Give your clients some kind of surprise bonus. Give them more than what they expected. Your bonus could relate to your product or it could be in the form of a gift. Here are a few gift giving ideas to help generate referral business: Before the sale: Try to give your clients something right up front. Try giving clients a $5 gift card before they even agree to do business with you. During the sales process: Send cookies to both spouses’ work with a thank you note and plenty of your business cards so they can give them to co-workers. This is a excellent technique for creating referral business. --Step#2:After the transaction is complete Collect testimonials: Now that you have wowed your clients, get a testimonial from them.In fact, it would be a great idea to survey your clients at the beginning, middle and end of the sales process immediately after they have received one of your gifts. Collect your surveys in writing by using short, quick answer questionnaires - 10 questions or less. These questionnaires will serve as testimonials for the next step in the creation of your referral business. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 41
  42. 42. --Step #3: Generate more referral business Use your client’s testimonial to target everyone in their center of influence. Send your testimonial to prospective clients and referral business partners along with an approach letter. More on the approach letter in a moment; first, here is a list of potential referral business partners that can be targeted after a mortgage transaction just to give you some ideas: ** HR manager at their work ** Financial planner ** Insurance agent ** The seller of the home on a purchase transaction ** Real estate appraise This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 42
  43. 43. In Financial Services, You Can Smile Harder and Give Away Gifts, but Loyalty is Heartfelt In banking and investing and insurance, many thousands of service-minded people enjoy client loyalty. Yet, most labour under a false basic assumption about why clients are loyal to them or their institution, rather than competitors. What really generates loyalty is warmth. The dominant view of loyalty in financial services equates loyalty with simple continuity of service. “If they keep on dealing with you, that means they’re loyal.” This makes sense, but it lacks a basic understanding of what motivates people to be loyal. This view also supposes that people become loyal to whomever best satisfies their service requirements. “If they can read statements that arrive on time, and find good numbers in them, then you just need be nice and keep it up.” This makes sense, too. But does loyalty come simply from satisfying requirements and smiling? By conventional wisdom, good investment performance and reliable admin are not quite enough from investment advisors or financial planners. Indeed, they strive to have impressive diplomas and professional certifications, to dress for success, and to express clever perspectives. This makes sense, too. Yet, most of their clients simply assume the diplomas and certifications. People want something more. connectedness the edge The conventional wisdom lacks edge. Here’s that edge: connectedness – mutual connection with the individual or institution. Some have it and don’t know how or why. Some credit their office décor, and they might be right. Décor has more draw power in a place with heart, though, where people connect. True loyalty goes both ways. A customer who feels connected goes right past the competitor’s grand opening celebrations to deal with one of their favourite service representatives at their home branch of their bank. The Assistant to the Branch Manager at an investment firm’s local office remembers every client and pronounces their names correctly every time. She deals with them as if they’re loved, respected family members. They’d never go anywhere else. Connectedness transcends financial services professionals’ polished shoes and marble floors. Connectedness trumps tidy, timely admin, too. Connectedness even out-powers return on investment. In a Gallup Management Journal article, W.J. McEwen and J.H. Fleming write, “Without a strong emotional bond, customer satisfaction is meaningless.” (Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count, GMJ, March 13, 2003) So, if one investment advisor’s power suit is less powerful than another’s, it probably doesn’t matter – if her clients feel connected to her. Connectedness outpowers free gifts, as well. This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 43
  44. 44. beyond incentive programs Somewhere in North America today, a financial institution is giving away a nifty gift as an incentive for a certain market segment to sign up for a new account or service. For example, a bank is giving away iPods to young adults who sign up for a new account targeted at young adults. A credit union is giving first-time mortgage borrowers a three-figure discount on home insurance. When these incentives become actively competitive, some consumers learn to hold out for better. Gallup: “This might not be profitable. That’s because repeated purchase behaviour has been motivated – or bribed – by a company’s offers of gifts, discounts, or other purchase rewards. These customers aren’t really loyal; they’re just customers who haven’t left – yet.” In such promotions, branch managers are generally rewarded on new sign-ups only. Ever wonder how many of those new accounts remain active and profitable? Some gauge loyalty by frequency or volume of transactions. If these are valid measures, then the loyalty jackpot must include a good measure of profitability. Wouldn’t it be nice if the loyalty grand prize also included mutual liking and trust? If that leads to greater depth-of-relationship or share-of-wallet, then you could make a profit and smile and dispense with trinkets. let it happen Enter connectedness. It comes from being real sincerely. It lets clients be real with you, too. In a financial service relationship, that can be rewarding. Connectedness is not a common concept in financial services. Yet, connectedness is exactly what people seek in trust-based business relationships. It is a feeling of affinity to likable, trustworthy professionals. Gallup studies link this emotional engagement to lower attrition and higher profits. I see it when investment advisors and credit unions show their true colours in brand- aligned newsletters and client events. When you like and trust your client, and your client likes and trusts you, then you have a good basis to solve their problems and earn their loyalty. If you continue to solve their problems and maintain mutual liking and trust, then you’ll enjoy loyalty that’s resilient About the Author Glenn Harrington began working in stock trading on Toronto’s Bay Street in 1987. He joined his first credit union in the same year. He continued in working in financial services before founding his own brand-marketing consultancy in 1996. He is Principal Consultant with Harrington Newsletter Company in British Columbia. www.newsletterdoctor.ca doctor@harringtonnewsletter.ca This building business resources was compiled by Strategic Impact! www.Strategic-Impact.com | www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com | www.MaximumReferrals.com 44