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2 Talking Word of Mouth with Andy Sernovitz

This is a special podcast as part of Make a Referral Week 2009

Andy SernovitzAndy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. chatted with me for this special episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

Andy shares a wealth of information on his blog DamnIWish and is offering Make a Referral Week participants 25% off his one day Word of Mouth Crash Course held monthly in Chicago (Use this discount code: THANKSDUCTTAPE)

  • We covered a wide range of topics related to Word of Mouth Marketing such as:
  • The difference between referrals and word of mouth
  • How word of mouth happens
  • How to create word of mouth campaigns
  • Simple examples of small businesses word of mouth success

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings really come alive.

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11 The Three D’s of Being More Referable

This is a special guest post as part of Make A Referral Week 2009

Scott GinsbergBy Scott “The Nametag Guy” Ginsberg

Potential customers, fans, friends, family members, audience members, readers of your material, website visitors, and pretty much anyone else that comes into contact with your business needs to know three things:

1. What you DO.
For a living, as a professional, for companies, for customers.

    Ask yourself:

  • How memorable is your networking intro?
  • Is your positioning statement clearly defined and posted where everyone can see it?
  • If a stranger asks your aunt Patty what you do for a living, will she do your business justice?

2. What you’re DOING.
Right now, current news and projects, upcoming events.

    Ask yourself:

  • Are people anticipating your arrival?
  • Are you posting pictures of you working with your clients?
  • Do you have a calendar, RSS feed or “upcoming events” section of your website and ezine?

3. What you’ve DONE.
Past clients, past successes, whom you worked with, how you helped them.

Ask yourself?

  • How many testimonials do you have?
  • How many of them are in video format?
  • When was the lat time YOU gave a referral?

REMEMBER: Do. Doing. Done.

Got it?

How referable are you?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out Market the Competition,” send an email to and I’ll send you the list for free!

Scott Ginsberg is the author of seven books including HELLO, my name is Scott, The Power of Approachability, How to be That Guy and Make a Name for Yourself.

15 The Essence of the Inbound Referral

This post is the opening positioning for the week long Make a Referral Week – officially starting Monday March 9 – Don’t forget to join us Tuesday, March 10 for a live web panel with Ivan Misner, Bill Cates and Bob Burg – Register here

Referrals happen, but seems like the more I talk to small business owners, the more I discover they don’t really know why they happen or how to make them happen more.

I think it starts with the understanding that everything about generating leads and referrals is changing.

Not long ago I was asked by a large insurance carrier to help design a marketing system for their new agents. They had used the same technique for about fifty years. It went like this. Every new agent would make up a list of 100 people they knew, had been taught or coached by, was related to their friends or was related to them. Next step was to get on the phone and ask those people, some of whom had not seen them in years, to have a discussion with this new insurance pup about taking care of the needs of their family and property.

Scary thing is, this is pretty much the approach of 90% of the companies in this industry. I am by no means picking on this industry because this a common approach for all too many businesses. And when that list of 100 is exhausted, the next option is to start pounding the phones in the equally frustrating game of cold calling.

Outbound marketing, interrupting anyone with a pulse, or worse yet a family member who might actually buy out of guilt, is a thing of the past.

In fact, my advice for this company was this: (they fired me after I suggested it by the way)

Have your agents make that list and include any influential person they had ever run across. But, instead of calling them start thinking of ways to introduce them to other businesses, services and opportunities. In fact, I suggested that they spend 50-75% of the first six months doing nothing but connecting their friends, family and network members in ways that helped them get more of what they were lacking – no selling allowed.

My experience with anyone who takes this advice and this approach is that within a couple weeks of adding value to people’s lives they never have to ask for another referral. It may feel counter intuitive to put the sales approach on the back burner and just focus on making referrals, but do it and people will find you – that’s the essence of the inbound referral.

In the end making referrals is significantly more fruitful than begging for them. Get this point and you’ll never want for leads in your business. Referrals and leads will find you. Putting this strategy into action also ignites a multiplier effect that creates unstoppable marketing momentum and fortifies your business with a network of partners ready and willing to help your get more of what you want out of life.

Happy Make a Referral Week!

2 The Referral A Team Heads Up Make a Referral Week

Ivan MisnerBob BurgBill Cates

Join me Tuesday, March 10th at Noon CST for a live web panel discussion featuring Bob Burg, author of the Go-Giver, Ivan Misner, founder of BNI and Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now. In my opinion this group makes up what may be the worlds greatest single collection of thought leaders on the subject of referrals. This is the A-Team when it comes to teaching the strategies of referral! Register here for this event.

The conference is the headline event of the educational component of Make a Referral Week. More info on the entire week can be found here.

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis session is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings really come alive.

10 Have You Made Your Referral?

Make a Referral WeekMake a Referral Week 2009 is March 9-13. This is one tiny effort to make a dent in this recession and shine a light on the efforts and impact of one small business helping another.

The goal of the event is to generate 1000 referrals for 1000 deserving businesses.

During the week this blog will be taken over by guest contributions and audio interviews with folks like Andy Sernovitz, Guy Kawasaki, Pam Slim, Rich Sloan, Anita Campbell, Scott Ginsburg, Michael Port and Jill Konrath all focused on telling you how to generate more business by way of referral.

In addition, I am hosting a live web conference on Tuesday, March 10 at Noon CST featuring Bob Burg, author of the Go-Giver, Ivan Misner, founder of BNI and Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now. This is the A-Team when it comes to teaching the strategies of referral! Register here for this event.

Here’s how you do your part:
1) Think about the referral(s) you are going to make
2) Make your referrals – (you don’t have to wait until March 9 to do this)
3) Visit the Make a Referral Week Referral Counter page and tell us who you referred and why in the comments – feel free to add URLs so others can learn about the business you referred.
4) Take in all the great educational content all week
5) Bask in the glow of small business coolness!

8 The Best Referral I Ever Received

In a previous post I asked readers to share stories of the best referral they ever received. It was a lot of fun listening to the audios so I thought I would share a couple with you. This referral story comes from Tamara Rose of Earthly Delights Day Spa.

If you would like to share your referral stories call (214) 615-6505 ext 6998 and listen to the message prompts to leave your message.

10 Design and Operate a Referral System – part 2

A few days ago I covered the Design the Referral System part and today I want to finish up with the Operate part – after all, a system design is an academic exercise until you put the process into action.

Equally important to the design is the way that you systematically and automatically integrate your referral system into the everyday customer and network interaction. I can’t tell you how many business owners admit that they don’t get more referrals because they simply don’t think to ask for them. By designing the ask into your day to day routine, it’s more likely that it will get done.

The Referral Operation parts:

Get an expectation mindset – first step is to believe that you deserve referrals and more than that, you are doing your customers and network a disservice by not allowing them an easy path to bring the tremendous value your products and services can deliver to those in need. If you can’t get past this point any system you devise will break down under the weight of your fear that you are simply begging for business.

The mindset must pervade your entire organization – it’s everyone’s job to create, nurture and convert leads by way of thrilled customers. In addition, your lead conversion process must contain the condition of referral generation as part of the deal. “We know you are going to be so thrilled with what we’ve agreed upon today Ms. Customer that in 90 days we are going to schedule a meeting to gauge just how great your results have been and at that time we are going to allow you to introduce us to 3 others that you know need these same results.”

Now, some might find the above statement hard to get to fall from their mouth, but I’m telling you it’s the most positive marketing message you can utter – we know you are going to be so thrilled you will refer us. You’ve still got to deliver, but when you do, you’ve established referrals as an expectation and condition in the relationship. It really is that simple.

Segments customers from partners – You need completely different referral approaches and offers for customers and strategic partners. By targeting your approach to these segments you can more easily develop programs that make sense and motivate for the right reasons.

For customers the likely motivation is that they like what you do so much they want to refer you and you simply need to stay top of mind and make it easy for them to do. Hint: Ask and remind!

For partners the motivation is quite different. Your job here is to effectively position referring you in a way that helps them add value to the relationships they already have with their customer. In that vain, the simplest way to do that is create valuable education based content, in the form of a white paper or seminar, and take it to them and propose they share it, co-branded, with their customers. They know they should be doing this so you’ve just made it easy for them to do something they want to do and you win.

Create turn-key tools – The education process of your referral sources can be aided greatly if you put tangible referral tools in their hands. Create documents that teach them how they would spot your ideal customer, the trigger phrases your customers use when they need you, and your referral process.

Create coupons and gift certificates and give them to your referral sources. Create jointly branded marketing materials for all of your strategic partners. Create a network blog that your strategic partners can all contribute to. Again, make it easy and it will happen.

Plan for logical collection – The place that referral systems fall down most often is in the actual collection. Expectations are set, customers are thrilled, the referral motivation is in place, but nobody thinks to actually ask for the referral – doh! – Create processes that involve customer results reviews, project reviews and satisfaction surveys and use these as triggers for referral collection – you might just find that it’s a great way to really find out what a great/lousy job you are doing and course correct accordingly.

More than one creative entry point – Just as not all referrals are created equal, not all motivations are created equal. You must have multiple referral opportunities going at all times so that you can take advantage of the highly engaged customer who wants to set up a lunch to introduce your firm, the customer that needs the quarterly reminder gift certificate mailing, and the non-profit agency partner that would love to run a promotion with you to benefit their cause and promote you to their members.

Start with one or two referral program offers and gradually build to many as a way to keep the marketing focus on the subject of referrals and let everyone find a way to play.

Measure and Adjust – You should create a dashboard of key referral indicators as a way to set goals and measure the success of your referral initiatives. So, what are the key metrics? Page views, referred leads, appointments, closed deals? I would suggest that you have a logical path of indicators so that you can see where your programs might be breaking down and need focus. You may be receiving referrals, but not closing them or closing every referred lead, but just not getting enough.

This is s place you might consider including your referral sources by way of follow-up. What you learn from your measurement practices may help you adjust and create better education tools.

All this talk of a systematic approach to referrals is great, but never forget my golden rules of referral or no system will work – Don’t be boring, don’t be rude, give to get.

14 Tired of Hearing About E.D. – then do something

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of all the talk of economic downturn (E.D.) and I think, as a group, small business owners are too.

Therefore we hereby declare March 9-13, 2009 – Make a Referral Week.

Make a Referral WeekMake a Referral Week is an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small business economy one referred business at a time. The goal for the week is to generate 1000 referred leads to 1000 deserving small businesses in an effort to highlight the fact that this simple action can blossom into millions of dollars in new business. Small business is the lifeblood and job-creating engine of the economy and merits the positive attention so often saved for corporate bailout stories.

The week long virtual event will also feature daily education programs focused on teaching small business owners and other marketers how to tap the power of referral marketing. The featured session includes a live web conference with Ivan Misner, founder of BNI and author Masters of Networking, Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals and the Go-Giver, Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now. (Here’s the full list of education planned for the week)

No money is exchanging hands, no sponsors are being hit up, it’s just something that we thought needed to be done. If you want to get involved in this small business happening visit the Make a Referral Pledge page and submit your intention now to make at least one referral during the March 9-13 event. (Take this step and you are automatically eligible to receive audio recordings of the entire expert series)

Once you pledge you will also find tools that make it easy to refer friends, post to your Facebook profile and blog about the week. If you would like to actively promote visit the sponsor page for additional tools.

During the week of March 9-13 we will activate the Referral-o-meter to track the march to 1000 referrals as small business owners visit and describe who they referred a lead to and why.

This is every small business person’s chance to be a part of the solution!