Small businesses need to generate referals right now

Generating referrals is your highest payoff activity right now

Generating referrals is your highest payoff activity right now

By John Jantsch

Many businesses have been displaced during this game-changing pandemic. I hope that you are not one of them.

One of the things, however, that few people are talking about is that the massive changes being experienced by businesses are also being experienced by customers.

In other words, buyers are being displaced from long-time providers or simply choosing this disruption as a time to rethink how to find, choose, buy from, and remain loyal to the businesses they patronize.

There has rarely been an environment in which more customers were forced into changing their purchase behaviors.

So while some businesses are still struggling with how to remake themselves, I want to suggest that right now is the time to look inward and seek referrals from your existing customers and partners as a primary lead generation initiative.

Ask your customers

First and foremost, communicate with your existing customers. Chances are they are being asked by friends, neighbors, and colleagues for new resources. (I belong to a couple of Facebook Groups where this has become common.)

Ask them to keep you in mind for referrals. Maybe even run a campaign offering bonuses for referrals.

Tell them why now

People need what you do, so if you’re confident you can help, you are doing a disservice if you don’t offer to help. All that to say, you should tell people you know many folks have been disrupted and find themselves looking to make a change – you could be that change. Own it!

Seek new partners

Strategic partners – businesses that also know lots of your ideal customers can be an excellent resource for spreading the word about how awesome you are.

Make a list of other businesses you admire who might serve your same kind of customer and start having conversations about working together. You can refer each other, make intros, or even find a way to co-market to each other’s customers.

Make it valuable for them

As you begin to reach out to potential strategic partners, think first about ways you can make the relationship valuable to them. Can you offer to write a guest blog or let them do the same, can you interview them, can you allow them to co-brand a great piece of content you have, can you do a free webinar for their audience? Can you refer a customer now?

This is how you get a potential partner’s attention.

Teach referrals

Lastly, if your ideal customers are businesses, then consider creating a campaign where you actively take some of what I’ve shared today to teach them how to get more referrals. Imagine how valuable you’ll become if you help them achieve the goal of getting more business – no matter what you sell to them currently?

Create a networking group of your current clients with the primary purpose of teaching referrals and I can assure you, you’ll start getting more referrals.

I wrote a book on this topic. If you want to get a bunch of ideas on referrals and teaching referrals, it’s the cheapest way I know – check it out The Referral Engine.

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