No one has a problem coming out of a movie or a restaurant and gleefully exclaiming to others about the great experience. Each time we spoil the plotline of a movie for someone or contemplate the ingredients of an awesome new dish we just tried, we are embarking on a journey of helping others build their brand recognition and grow their client base because let’s face it: brand is built AFTER people have an experience with it.
The Power of the RIGHT Referral
Referrals can make a substantial and dramatic difference to a business, but unfortunately, most people flounder at how to stimulate a proper referral system. It’s important to ask the question “who is it that I can refer to you”? Identifying the ideal client helps make the most out of the referrals for both sides.
For Vivid Image, our ideal client is likely an organization that’s been in business for seven years and already has an initial website, but is looking to take their marketing to another level through a partnership. We put a strong emphasis on relationships, so authenticity and trust are important as we work closely together to set and measure goals. Do you know a business that is very family-orientated who is either looking for support for their marketing department or isn’t interesting in hiring internally for marketing and web services? Then referring them to us is a great idea!
Here’s How It Can Go Wrong…
For example, if I am thrilled with my groomer and refer her to everyone I know who owns a dog; I may feel I am really helping her out. If I own a small dog and assume she grooms large and small dogs alike, I am frustrating all my large dog owner friends and doing my groomer a disservice if she only grooms small dogs. She has to turn people away. My friends are irritated. See where it’s important to clarify who it is you serve?
Make It Easy to Refer
No doubt business owners will agree with “the power of referrals”. However, how many businesses do you know who supply their clients, friends, family, or employees with information on how to refer?
- Clarify who it is you want people to refer and make sure your staff knows.
- Make it easy for people to refer; whether it’s online or offline make it easy to find and quick to do.
- Communicate how you will follow up and what will happen next.
- Ask, in person, for a referral, “Who else do you know who has this need that you feel I could help?”
- “I’m looking for people who are retiring, downsizing, and looking to move into a smaller place.”
- “We love to focus on young children’s birthday parties, creating memorable character theme cakes and cookies.”
- “I’m working with runners who have knee or foot problems, who are currently training for a marathon.”
Great Referral Marketing Resource for You
Don’t be afraid to tell people who your target market is and how they can make referrals. There are four great books that are guaranteed to boost your referral system and spur more ideas:
- Duct Tape Marketing, by John Jantsch
- Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
- Citizen Marketers and Creating Customer Evangelists, by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.
- One Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib