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J Burke AIIP15 - Building Your Referral Marketing Machine

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J Burke AIIP15 - Building Your Referral Marketing Machine

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Presentation given by Jennifer Burke, President of IntelliCraft Research at the 2015 AIIP annual conference on how to build a well-oiled referral marketing machine for independent information professionals, solopreneurs, solo consultants in service businesses.

Presentation given by Jennifer Burke, President of IntelliCraft Research at the 2015 AIIP annual conference on how to build a well-oiled referral marketing machine for independent information professionals, solopreneurs, solo consultants in service businesses.


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J Burke AIIP15 - Building Your Referral Marketing Machine

  1. 1. Referral Marketing Building Your Well-Oiled Machine Jennifer E. Burke IntelliCraft Research
  2. 2. #REFERRALMACHINE #AIIP15 @theinfohound1 What will YOUR referral machine look like?
  4. 4. 54% B2B BUYERS SAY WOM INFLUENCES PURCHASES Jack Morton Worldwide, Zuberance; Gleanster Research
  6. 6. 83% OF CLIENTS WILLING TO REFER BUSINESS TO OTHERS But only 29% actually do
  7. 7. Business Consulting Buzz., research among 10,000 consultants
  8. 8. RAISE YOUR HAND IF . . .
  9. 9. You got business this last year from a referral?
  10. 10. You got more than one client from a referral?
  11. 11. You made more than one referral?
  12. 12. You have a system or process for following up with your clients or prospects?
  13. 13. You have a process for getting more referrals?
  14. 14. So, why aren’t you getting referrals?
  15. 15. What stops the referral machine … from even starting? • Fear? • Dread of phone calls … your clients dread them too? • Not knowing how to ask? • Feels too ‘sales-y’? • Worried you can’t explain why they should refer you?
  16. 16. What if you had a system? Wouldn’t that make things easier?
  17. 17. "Regular follow-up does not make people think you don’t have enough business; it makes them see you as a professional." - CJ Hayden
  18. 18. Today • The Referral Machine Concept • Fuel for the Machine • Funnels + Systems • Engine of the Machine = Follow-up • Toolkit = How to keep the Machine running
  19. 19. Start the Machine Fuel in the Funnel
  20. 20. People = Fuel But not just any people …
  21. 21. Ideal Clients Have you defined yours? If not, how do others know who to refer to you?
  22. 22. (Ideal) Partners + Sources “Ideal Referral Partner is a person or company that supports your Ideal Client in some way that complements what services you provide, but doesn’t compete with them."
  23. 23. Radar Benchmarks Talking You MUST stay on the radar. Clients, prospects, past clients, partners, colleagues. Use your Toolkit to stay in sight. Not just any referral, SPECIFIC targeted referrals. Ideal Clients. You keep talking. But get THEM talking, as they are your best advocates, your fans, your best results.
  24. 24. What’s a Funnel? How is this part of the system? You have to grow your ‘sphere of influence’ and load more into the top of the funnel.
  25. 25. Traffic Conversions Core – Value, Advocates What’s the critical ‘middle’ step of your funnel that turns visitors into real customers ?
  26. 26. Systems • Gotta Get Organized • Gotta Get Tools • Gotta Take Action(s)
  27. 27. Gotta Get Organized "Business cards and scraps of paper lying on your desk do not constitute a contact management system."
  28. 28. Gotta Get Tools • Move the ‘fuel’ through the funnel and the engine of the machine – Time management, contact management, project management, email management, follow-up management
  29. 29. ENGINE = FOLLOW-UP
  30. 30. The Is in the Follow
  31. 31. Doing Follow-Up Better, Easier • Delivering Value Upfront – Education-Based Marketing • Relationship Building • Make It Easy On Others • Consistency
  32. 32. Easier Conversations • Have more meaningful talks about what’s going on with their business + life – Be the call they want to take • Call with a specific, helpful purpose – Stop the awkward ‘hi, how are you doing’ • Offer something instead of asking for something • Tell people how great your clients are
  34. 34. Put Into Action • Creating – your lead magnet, value up front • Email – newsletters, broadcasts, notes • Email – you WRITE and GIVE your sources the exact copy • Testimonials • Templates
  36. 36. Name Email Prospect Your Site Opt-In Info Goes Into Your CRM + Email Service Thank You Page + Download Email Series to Your Prospect
  37. 37. How to Implement For Handouts Including Worksheets + Templates Visit:
  38. 38. Jennifer E. Burke – @theinfohound1

Editor's Notes

  • Bain + Co

    65% of new business comes from referrals - NYTimes (date?)
  • Kelly Fay for Jack Morton Worldwide via Zuberance] 

    70-80% of people are willing to refer leads .. IF asked ... but less than 15% of individuals or companies ASK
    50% of leads are qualified ... but not yet ready to buy (Gleanster Research)
     direct referral lead is 36X more valuable than a generic lead or cold lead
  • 83% of clients are willing to refer business to others, but only 29% actually do [McKinsey, Texas Tech]

    57% of services buyers are very likely to recommend their consultants to other prospective clients, but 85% didn't because they weren't asked. (Study from Hinge Marketing, via RainToday)  different study
  • from study shared recently on the list, based on research among 10K consultants [Business Consulting Buzz] -WoM or referrals at top of list of what they do and what they say works ($$)

    But ...
    how do you really get referrals? how do you keep in touch so that referrals can happen? how do people know to refer you?
    You can't discount how these (clicking for arrows) other marketing activities actually contribute to 'word of mouth' and referrals that work -those other marketing tools mentioned [in the Infographic many saw on AIIP-L]  - still necessary, to support networking and word of mouth - advertising alone not work for us; blog alone not work; email without a plan, doesnt work  -- but together, as a system, techniques can and do work
    -and if you aren't getting biz from email - chances are we are doing it wrong (I say 'we' because I haven't been perfect in walking my talk the last year! hold me accountable too in 2015)

  • So .. a little check of our own consultants, researchers, solo-preneurs ..

    -you got business this last year from a referral
    -you got more than one client this year from a referral
    -you made more than one referral
    -you have a system or process for following up with your clients (past, current, prospects)
    -you have a process for getting more/a referral
  • Why you aren’t getting referrals  = Common Misunderstandings 
    Are you Asking?
    Do you have a plan?
    Do you make it easy?
    Incentives to refer? (coupons, discounts, bonuses, free products, free services, consults, 

    (Ask audience)
    - think your clients don't want to be asked?
    -dread those phone calls - worried that your clients dread them too?
    -awkward to just call to say 'hi'?
    -not know how to ask?
    -worried you can't explain why they should refer you to one of their contacts?
    -think you don't deserve the referral and more business? 
    -feels too 'salesy'? 
    -worried about the callback, especially if a prospect said 'no' once already?
    Dreading rejection is a common fear and something we all tend to want to avoid...
    Even if it's not really personal 
    Are you having trouble getting out of your own head, and own way? 

    You need a plan, system, process  [Tweetable/shareable sound bite] 
  • If you had a system, a plan, and you always delivered great value (not just in your work) wouldn't that make things easier? 
  • Referral Machine [ = BIG IDEA] 
     Multiple sources, into Pipeline, contact Mangement, follow up plan, execute the educational followup plan.   Repeat

    "Regular follow-up does not make people think you don’t have enough business; it makes them see you as a professional."  CJ Hayden
  • The Referral Machine
    Fuel for the Machine
    Where you get referrals
    How you prime pump for more
    Ideals - Clients, Partners 
    Funnels + Systems 
    Engine of the Machine = Follow-up
    Toolkit = how to keep the machine running
  • Most obvious fuel in the funnel =  >
    Best source obviously = past, satisfied clients. 
    But this is limiting. It takes time (selling, executing, delivering) to end up with a “past client,” and your sphere of influence (that is, your network) can only grow as fast as you can deliver new projects.
    And if you don't have large portfolio of those happy, satisfied clients, then what? 
  • You have to define your ideal prospects or you can’t tell your partners who to refer to you

    think of your current best clients - what makes them the best- who do you most enjoy working with, who pays on time, who has interesting projects etc. Think of all aspects of client -personality industry geography Write down all descriptions can think of.
  • Similarly, who are you ideal partners and sources of referrals?

    “Ideal Referral Partner is a person or company that supports your Ideal Client in some way that complements what services you provide, but doesn’t compete with them."

    Who's a good partner? - where do your ideal clients hang out, who else do they use for services or problems? 
    Often these kinds of partners are in businesses, fields completely unrelated to yours.  Complementary 
    Only include those that you would personally work with, or who you'd refer a friend or your best client. They have to be as committed to quality and service as you are. 
    If you regularly work with other small businesses or solopreneurs, maybe you should talk to local accounting firms, attorneys, financial planners
    Who else helps your small biz clients with their business development or growth? 

     You work mostly with c-suite execs - who else do they turn to? Time management experts, leadership trainers, strategic consultants, 

    Then think of creative ways you can  help each other - Think of ways you could provide value while also introducing yourself and your services to new prospects. A webinar, teleclass, an ebook to share, a seminar or workshop jointly at a local setting  Talk benefits you bring their clients and community first 

  •  RADAR = working with current or past clients who were really good, great projects, good relationships, good to great value delivered – you stay on their radar. And you keep telling them you want more clients just like them.  Staying connected on LinkedIn - good form; but also means you can access their networks. Look at their Connections - who are they connected to that fits your Ideal Client profile? Use the advanced search features. Find specific people you'd like introductions to, who you want to get on your Radar.  [To do the actual asking we'll use our Value in Advance and Education Marketing - coming up] 

    Do your current and past clients know about everything you can do? -if they only used you for market research, they may not know you can do other competitive intelligence or market analysis; if they've only seen you do industry research, they don't know that can help for business appraisals or valuation; do they know you have access to patent databases, to databases on private companies or so much more? Not that they care about the specific tools you use - but what you can deliver with them, in topics or fields they may not have thought about

    Benchmarks = not any referral, but specific referrals. Targeted Ideal Client types. You don’t want calls from their obligated friends and golf partners – you want them thinking about other colleagues who saw the results you got for your client, saw the positive impact, the value – and know it’s important and worth it

    Get Them Talking = these are your best advocates – your satisfied clients, your ideal partners and sources; he folks who can genuinely talk you up, speak glowingly about results you got them that WORK, why it’s worth it to call you; not just handing over your card or email

  • Work on rapidly growing and conditioning your "sphere of influence" -- e.g. your network -- to maximize referrals/getting new work:
    You need a larger, consistent pipeline of leads, then,prospects, clients, and referral sources More people in your sphere or network = more likely find quality leads -> prospects
    You can't let your pipeline dry up
    How many people who know you, really know what you do and for whom? What kind of results you achieve for clients? 

    System, process – moving people, traffic, leads along from action to action (ones they want to take, you nudge them to take, that benefit them) as they deepen their relationship with you
  • chances are it’s NOT ‘viewing your homepage’
    Maybe it’s email subscription? Maybe it’s getting your lead magnet? Or your first, lower-price offer? A free or low-price consult?
  • Get Organized - "Business cards and scraps of paper lying on your desk do not constitute a contact management system. "
    It's really hard to follow up with someone if you don't have all their info in one place, if you don't have a record of the last time you contacted them (and in what manner, what they said). 
    Outlook can be made to work for you at a minimum. 
    There are now contact and follow up tools inside LinkedIn ...
    And there are cheap or free CRM (Customer Relationship Management, or Contact Management) tools, apps and systems out there.
    Nimble, Insightly, Rapportive, Zoho

    Interaction - ask audience for what they use for contact organization - who uses CRM? 
    You don't need to pay big $$, you probably don't need SalesForce, and you likely don't need all the bells + whistles.   But you need something. 
    I've let myself down because I keep trying and 'playing' with different tools instead of settling on one and just USING it regularly. Don't be me. 

    Tools = Systems for moving ‘fuel’ through the funnel –
    Time management tools, contact management tools, follow-up tools
    Email marketing

  • Follow-up is not stalking!
    Follow-up doesn’t have to suck … for you, for your clients, your prospects or your potential referrals

  • Follow-up also means more than just calling, emailing or mailing that referral that was passed your way at an event yesterday, or reaching out to a past client.
    It also means how do you follow-up with a referral or a prospect you talked to 4-6 weeks ago, who wasn't ready to commit to a project yet .. who wasn't clear on their research needs, or what they really needed from you ... but they were interested.

    Calling up and saying, "hi, ready to hire me now? Have a colleague who needs me?" Never feels comfortable  and rarely works.

    So, what to do?
    More personal, more value, more educational – more systematic
  • 'Value in Advance'  - the concept behind lead magnets - incentives to get people on  your email list, but also a way to show what you know, what you do in a helpful, educational way. A great thing for people to give to potential referrals -  so your source is 'giving' instead of asking

    "You’re delivering value anytime you make somebody better off than they were before."

    <What Can You Give of Value -- that educates about a problem ....and you> 
    Product reviews & recommendations; time saving tools or resources; an article about a regulatory change that could affect them, an article about a key trend in their industry
    Sharing congrats when you see your client has been in the news - that's a great reason to get in touch, and show you're well read and connected
    Education and training  - an invite to a seminar, webinar [yours or someone else's ]
    an ebook you wrote [this isn't a magnum opus or a dissertation - we're talking < 10 pg]  - or a coupon or voucher for a free copy of a book or ebook from someone else you trust and admire
    Videos - quick, 'insider' trainings or tips clips - review a product, give some great resources,  solve a small, specific, or tricky problem
    Newsletter  (including option of Insiders List for subset of best past clients or potential sources, to keep in touch and bring extra value )
    Meet ups 
    Networking groups

    Webinars, seminars, presentations ( meta moment - I'm potentially influencing 100 people in this room, in 60 minutes vs having 100 60minute one-on-one conversations)

    These are also parts of your Referral Toolkit - we'll touch on more in a moment ...