Referral Generation Requires Both Strategy and Tactics
In my book The Referral Engine I point out that referral generation must be a foundational mindset that runs throughout your marketing plan and your marketing implementation. To become a widely referred organization everyone in your business must think about referrals at the strategic level and at the everyday tactical level.
It’s this point of view that drives organizations to get better, so they deserve more referrals, while also getting clearer about how they receive more referrals. The combined strategy and tactics approach is the catalyst that truly revs the referral engine.
Recently, one of my readers sent me a note that I think illustrates this strategy and tactics frame of mind in a simple, yet powerful manner. I run his note here to help bring this point to light in the real world.
A lot of business advice we hear makes a lot of sense in theory and is then left to us to adapt and implement. It doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, just that it takes more work and creativity on our part to get it to work in a practical sense. In reading “The Referral Engine,” I became really excited by the concept of using referrals as both a strategy and a tactic at the same time – which is pretty unusual. It’s a strategy because it sets up a goal with each customer to exceed expectations in a way that will cause them to tell others. As a solopreneur, if you adopt that strategy it forces a level of intellectual honesty that helps you make lots of decisions along the way by asking yourself, “Is this good enough that my client would want to tell a friend?” But it’s using this concept as a tactic that made the biggest difference for me.
I outlined this passage in your book: “…your lead-conversion process must contain referral generation as part of the deal: ‘We know you are going to be so satisfied with what we’ve agreed upon today that after the project is completed, we are going to schedule a meeting to make certain you received the results promised, and at that time we’ll ask you if you would introduce us to three others that you know need these same results.” That seemed like a really powerful sales tactic to me. It’s better than a money back guarantee, which puts the focus on failure. This approach demonstrates to the customer that you have a goal that is beyond siphoning money from them.
And so I immediately put that to use last September. I’ve just launched a new inbound marketing consulting business, which means that I didn’t really have any reference-able accounts at the time (just some non-profit volunteer work). As I sat in a meeting with the company’s leadership I was open with the fact that I was just getting this business started and while they appreciated the candor, they were also obviously concerned. That’s when I told them that my primary goal in this project wasn’t to collect a paycheck; it was to exceed expectations to a point where they would be happy to introduce me to three others who would like to achieve the same results. I wish the meeting was being recorded because I immediately detected an emotional shift in the room from concern to genuine excitement. The COO quickly replied, “Oh yeah, I can think of five clients right off the top of my head that we could refer to you. Nothing would make me happier!” I’m convinced that was one of two key tactics that landed me the account.
Your book contained lots of other great tactics that I’m also trying to implement but this one, in my opinion, had the biggest “bang for the buck.” So thanks!
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