Using Referrals to Grow Your Business

Understanding A Referral System

Referrers to your company are often called your unpaid sales force; they work to promote your business because they love what you do and value your services – all without expecting any sort of compensation. Any business should be working to maximize the leverage they receive through their referral network.

Your referral network can include clients, power partners, networking group members, friends, family, neighbors, associates, past co-workers, essentially anyone who knows you and recommends your services or products to others.

The providing of a referral can be done directly, in a conversation, an email, a passing of your business card, or it can be offered indirectly through public review sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local, Angie’s List and more.

Referrals are essential to every business because they help build up your reputation before the prospect has even met you. A referral is also called a warm lead, because they are a potential customer who has shown interest in your products or services, but has also already received a positive review that has given your business credibility or at least a headstart against the competition.

This leads into another topic that I will have to discuss later…how do you ensure that you get referrals? Delivering outstanding customer service, under-promising and over-delivering, are just a few ways to ensure that you have raving (happy) fans and a strong customer support base.

Referral Marketing Handout

Below are some examples of free and inexpensive advertising methods, created by Elizabeth Rupp, of Office Spots.

Free Advertising Methods:

  • Posting on www.craigslist.org
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • LinkedIn
  • Cold Calls
  • Cold Emails
  • Newsletters

Inexpensive Advertising Methods:

  • Networking (Chambers, Ind Groups)
  • Tradeshow Booths
  • Promotional Items (ie Pens, Mugs, etc)

Definition of ‘Referral’

A person or business steered to a business by an existing customer. For example, a person who needs repair work on a vehicle is referred to a particular mechanic by a satisfied customer of the mechanic.

http://business.yourdictionary.com/referral

Definition of ‘Sales Lead’

A prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information. Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings and other marketing efforts. They can also purchase sales leads from third-party companies. A sales lead is not a sales prospect, meaning that further qualification of the lead is necessary to determine intent and interest.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sales-lead.asp

Definition of ‘Power Partner’

Power Partners are people who can easily refer to you because:

  • They believe in you and your product or service
  • They have a ready made referral (customer) pool to refer from
  • They are willing to share their power partners with you
  • They have a desire to be of service
  • They also want to receive referrals
  • They understand the power of networking
  • They understand the value of word of mouth advertising
  • They are willing to make a personal and business commitment to you.

http://www.bhsmilehi.org/media/Power_Partner_Definition.pdf

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Up until now I’ve received almost all of my clients and business through referrals. How do you receive your business – do you advertise or is it all word of mouth? Do you ask for referrals? Do you tell other people what an ideal referral for you would be?

Focus on Gratitude For A Better Life & Greater Productivity

Balance in business and in life is very important. Therefore, while this is a business-focused blog, I intend to cover topics of all areas of life as they relate to business and being a business owner. Part of maintaining balance and happiness in your life is through gratitude.

This topic is important with many high performance coaches, life coaches and motivational speakers. Two of our bi-weekly networking group members recently went to a Tony Robbins event (where they walked on fire!) and came back with this powerful topic of Gratitude.

Essentially gratitude is about putting everything into proper perspective. Your day may have been bad, but things could have been worse. Gratitude is not about minimizing your pain, fear, loss or troubles but about understanding and accepting what you have, and then moving forward in spite of it; look at the silver lining.

Gratitude is about putting things in perspective so that you can move beyond obstacles to lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Gratitude has many different forms or ways to view it, including:

  • Celebrating your achievements
  • Appreciating others, being appreciated and feeling like you matter
  • Being present when with others by giving them your full attention

Celebrate Your Achievements

Each day is a struggle for a bigger goal, but if you don’t stop to appreciate what you have achieved and accomplished you will just burn yourself out. If you always push forward without taking the time to stop and celebrate what you have done, you are not celebrating yourself or showing gratitude towards yourself.

Appreciate Others

This is a topic covered in-depth by Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Schwartz and more.

Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter — that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.

The single highest driver of engagement, according to a worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson, is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Less than 40 percent of workers felt so engaged.

Why Appreciation Matters So Much

Be Present

Brendon Burchard is a strong advocate for being present and in the moment to ensure that you have a full life that is shared completely with others.

The greatest gift is to be present.

I don’t mean being half-present, but fully focused on the other person with your whole body and mind as if there was nobody else in the whole world. I’m sure we are all guilty of being half – or even quarter-present.

How to Be Present For Others

Carrying on a conversation without being fully present leaves the other people feeling unappreciated, unimportant and upset. By engaging fully and taking the time to appreciate your time with this person, you will not only engage them on a deeper level but also feel better.

How Can You Show Gratitude?

To address this, we answered these questions in two stages.

  1. What is stressing you out? What are you grateful for about it? (What is the silver lining?)
  2. What do you do in your daily life to show gratitude?
How do you show gratitude in your daily life? Or what could you do to show gratitude daily?
  • Write in a gratitude journal – It helps put each day in perspective, even if the only things you can write are basic things, “I woke up”, “The sun is shining”, “It is a warm day”.
  • Show affection – Let others know that you care by taking the time to be with them.
  • Keep in mind the other point of view – Don’t make judgements about other people. They may be having a bad day and acting out of character when they cut you off in traffic or shove in front of you at line.
  • Spend time with others – Have a ‘no electronics night’ where you spend the evening just playing board games, talking and spending time in the company of others. It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with. (This is my personal motto in life.)
  • Don’t assume – Other people have things going on as well and may be dealing with personal problems or trauma that you know nothing about. Don’t assume you know their perspective or current frame of mind.
  • Focus on the things you can control – You cannot control other people’s actions so don’t waste your energy or time trying. Focus on what you can control and have a more productive day.
  • You are what you do – What you think, what you do, what you say are all a reflection of who you are. You become what you focus your time on so be sure to focus on the positive and what you are grateful for.
  • Breathe, align, let go.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – Stop worrying about the little things when they are unimportant. Don’t wait for a traumatic life changing even to bring around this change either.

Working On Your Business, Not In It or… Being a Marketer, Not a Doer

 

The key to being a successful business is focusing your attention on moving it forward, rather than on keeping the current system producing…otherwise you’ll spend all day doing the same thing, day in and day out. I completely agree, but some days it just isn’t possible. Some days, I wake up with my list of things to do to grow my business and then, WHAM! My day is over and I accomplished none of those items. Sometimes meetings run late, or urgent projects come up, or something has gone wrong and must be fixed immediately. Whatever it is, it means another day that I have been in my business getting things done, but not working on it helping it to move forward.

Words of Wisdom From the Expert

Dan Kennedy – In Glazer-Kennedy Marketing you’ll realize that regardless of your business, you really are 
(and should be) in the marketing business. The first big leap in income occurs when a business owner moves 
from the thinking from himself as a “doer of his thing” to being a “marketer of his thing.” You may resist this 
at first due to accumulated experiences and habit of running your business in a certain way and thinking about 
yourself in a certain way, but as a Member you will shortly become liberated and arrive at the proper viewpoint 
of what business is all about. Dan Kennedy has created many other successful business owners from his teachings and they understand that not everyone can just give up the hands-on side of their business…and not all want to.

 

Diane Conklin – …you have to start to work ON your business instead of IN your business. So many of us when we start out, we have jobs, right? We may be working for hours from homes or we may have an office with our own business but what we really own is a job because we spend 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 or 15 hours a day doing it….

Now don’t think if you’re starting out, “Oh my gosh I have to stop”, you know baking pies, or have to stop grooming dogs because I think you started your business because you loved it. So as a marketer I should be saying you should love marketing, What I really think is if you got into the business because you love baking pies or grooming dogs or cleaning carpets, or whatever it is you did, it’s ok to keep doing that but you’ve got to find somebody that understands direct response marketing and can help you market your business.

Or find someone like me, who understands marketing, graphic design, web design and print!

Two Options To Move Forward With Your Business
  1. Make a plan to get out of being the ‘doer’ and into a plan of being the ‘marketer’. This is the part that can be frustrating, as you make the transition over. It is when you realize that you must be working ON your business, but can’t quite reach that point yet. Don’t worry, it won’t happen overnight but if you are persistent and create a plan, it will happen.
  2. Hire someone else to do your marketing and strategy. This is the alternative for those who either do not have the confidence or inclination to do the marketing – this is fine. It is also for those who actually prefer to be the ‘doer’ in their business; those who go into business in order to work for themselves and do the work as they wish. You may be an amazing pie maker and no one but you could do it quite right – then hire someone so that the world can find out. The vital thing is to recognize that there must be someone in your business who focuses most of their time on the marketing and business development part of the business.Whether this is you as the owner, or a specialist in the field that you hire, make sure that you are always adding more traffic into your funnel. I know many business owners (I admit, I have occasionally been guilty of this) who would go to networking events when they had the time and then become so busy they stopped all networking for months. Once business slowed down, out they were in the field again. This is not a viable model and the stop-start format of lead generation will never allow you to grow.

Which option works for you? Why? If it will be a while before you can transition, what can you do on a weekly or daily basis to slowly switch over?