Involve Your Employees in the Referral Machine

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Everybody I talk to these days is looking for ways to generate more referrals. And I get that, referrals are great – low ROI, shorter sales cycle, more qualified leads and less focus on price.

There are lots of great ways to systematically stoke the referral machine, but an often overlooked one is the engagement of your entire staff. Every employee, marketing related function or not, should be brought into the referral game and motivated, empowered and rewarded for playing the game to win.

    Here’s how:

  • Help fill your gaps – If you are not automatically receiving a flood of referrals it may be due to the fact that some of your processes are leaking – customers are not receiving an experience that connects them emotionally with your brand. Challenge your employees to come up with ways to turn every customer contact, even financial and operational ones, into touchpoints for referrals.
  • Make referrals daily – Build your network of select strategic partners and encourage every employees to make referrals to those partners when they can. Perhaps even set-up a little bonus point pool for making referrals. Make giving referrals a business strategy (Hint: Best way to get is to give.)
  • Automate customer testimonials – So often your front line employees are standing there when the customers sighs and says, “Wow, dude, you really saved my butt on this one.” – Alert: Great time to get a customer testimonial – start offering bonus points for every testimonial acquired by every employee. This one could turn into a pretty fun game for the entire staff.
  • Create co-brand promotions – Get your employees on the lookout for great strategic partnering opportunities and then create tools such as white papers, webinars and seminars that can be pre-packaged and offered to run in some creative co-marketing campaigns. Again, this is where your front line folks, the ones having drinks with the customers, can find out the inside scoop of the best potential strategic relationships.
  • Offer employees referral bonuses – This one is pretty straight forward, but sometimes the obvious still alludes. Right now, figure out a way to incentivize every employee to generate word of mouth buzz and actual referrals for your business. Don’t stop at a referred prospect though. Go way beyond that to referred new employees, referred strategic partners, referred buddy down at the newspaper and referred genius tech gal that can automate stuff you are still doing manually.

Put one or all of the above in place and watch the mindset at your business take a major shift. Everybody’s in marketing, no matter what the org chart says!


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