Tag Archives: duct tape marketing

What Really Generates Referrals


So much of the literature on the subject of referrals focuses on the proper ways to network, ask for referrals, and create incentive programs for referral sources. While some of these more tactical things do indeed produce referrals for the organizations and salespeople that employ them, they are often little more than window dressing when it comes to the big picture.

Building a foundation that automatically generates referral momentum is not done through external actions  like some many things in life, you do it from the inside out. Plain and simple the most widely referred business are purely more referable.

I’ve studied a lot of businesses that easily generate referrals and they share some common internal tendencies as part of their brand and culture.

Make people look good

Looking at all business relationships with an eye on making prospects, customers, vendors, mentors, and staff look and feel good is a tremendously attractive internal quality. I read this quote recently and I think it works well here – “To a large degree, our success and happiness in life depends on how much people like themselves when they’re with us.” Joe Caruso

Ready to refer

We all know that giving referrals is one of the best ways to get referrals, but the difference lies in the systematic preparation. There is a big difference between understanding this philosophically and practicing proactively. Building your back pocket with a group of  “best of class” providers takes work. You’ve got to discover, recruit, train and build the trust necessary to develop a proven network of providers who can help you add value to your client relationships, but once you do, the rest is pretty easy.

Keeps promises

The word trust is easy to use and even easier to lose. But, as Stephen M.R. Covey so correctly points out in his book, The Speed of Trust,  trust is a hard currency and asset. Trust impacts how fast things are done and how much they cost. It is so much easier and less expensive to refer a business that keeps its promises.

Creates an experience

We will travel to the ends of the earth to be entertained or at least not bored to tears. The businesses we love to refer aren’t boring. They realize that it’s not just about the product and service they sell, it’s equally about the total experience,  the marketing, the message, the people, the processes, the delivery are all carefully considered as props integral to a successful customer experience.

Educates, instead of selling

Nobody likes to refer a friend to a sales pitch, right? But, exposing a friend to information that might help them get more of what they want out of life, now that’s a different story. Even better when that information is packaged and presented in multiple locations, formats, and venues.

Adds value beyond price

In Bob Burg’s book the Go-Giver the main character, Joe, encounters the 5 laws of stratospheric success. The first law, the Law of Value states that your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. This is a tough one for so many people because we often have no great baseline for the value we bring. The key here is to work tirelessly to understand, quantify and enhance the value our customer receives and the rest will take care of itself.

Does something talkable

My spell check isn’t balking at the word talkable, but I think it properly expresses this one. You’ve certainly encountered the concept of word of mouth constantly of late, but I think that concept tends to lean heavily on tactics and stunts, like viral videos, that might create a flurry of word of mouth. To do something talkable to me is to have something at the core of your business, a higher purpose, an inspirational story, a product or service that is simply brilliant, or a habit that makes people smile. Authenticity and consistency are what make something talkable.

Exceeds expectations

This one seems pretty easy, but why isn’t it. When someone buys a product, toss other stuff in the box, right? Maybe, but the only way to actually exceed expectations is to know what they are. And that’s where people fall down. In business and in life, it’s extremely difficult to exceed an expectation you have not participated in setting. Widely referred business work very hard to set the proper expectations and then it’s pretty simple matter to exceed them. So, you see exceeding expectations might also include understanding and attracting the right customers, laying exactly how you work to get results on the line, teaching customers what’s expected of them, and even saying no once and while.

Focus on even one of the internal mindsets and practices above and watch how much more referable you become.

I also created a public mindmap of this article and would love it if you would contribute your thoughts on the tactical elements of each of these principles listed above. You do have to sign-up for a free Mindmeister account to add your thoughts, but it’s a pretty cool tool anyway so you might like to play around with it. You can find the map here – http://www.mindmeister.com/23949165

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John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide.

He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system. You can find more information by visiting http://www.ducttapemarketing.com

13 Ways to Network Beyond Facebook and LinkedIn

John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing)

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Photo by lirontocker
Building branded profiles, engaging prospects and connecting with potential employees and strategic partners are all powerful ways to tap into Facebook and  LinkedIn.

But, for the typical small business, there may actually be some equally important social networks you may not be so familiar with. The big networks get all the press, but small networks, say for instance, like the connectodex found here at OpenForum may prove tremendously valuable for small business folks due to the small size and targeted focus of the membership.

The list below represents some of the more active networks I’ve encountered when it come to small business social networking.

Visit a handful of these sites and choose several that feel right for your business. Once you build a profile, taking full advantage of the opportunity to link to your primary business offer full descriptions of your products and services, spend enough time to go a bit deeper.

Write or republish some articles or blog content, search and identify a dozen or so people to connect with, and give some advice, point to someone’s great content or answer questions from other members.

Don’t try to jump into every new network you can find, but do jump into a few outside of Facebook and LinkedIn and make yourself a bit of a larger fish in these smaller ponds.

In addition to OpenForum check these networks out:

  • Biznik – this network for small business folks is blending online and offline by allowing members to collect by city and host and promote local events
  • StartUpNation – a wealth of information focused on startups and very active community
  • Wall St Journal – community build around subscribers  and geared, as one might suspect to professionals and financial folks
  • Small Business Brief – heavy dose of search engine related content but very active small business focus
  • Inc magazine – another popular business related magazine with community of entrepreneurs
  • StartUp Biz – very fast growing network with lots of tools to promote yourself
  • PartnerUp – small business focus and big on helping people find answers and connections for the things they need
  • BizSugar – allows you to submit, share and vote for the best business information links on the Internet.. Great place to promote and discover your small business content
  • CoFoundr – Programmers and designers use the site to find co-founders, build teams, and get advice.
  • Business Week Exchange – Site from Business Week magazine is a great place to promote and find content on the web, tends to be a bit larger business focused
  • Naymz – one of the better sites for those focused on building personal brands – highly indexed in the search engines

Image credit: andresmh

John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing.