Psst! We’re giving away a free SIGNED, ADVANCE copy of John Jantsch’s “The Referral Engine.” Read on for details.
“The relative health and success of most businesses can be gauged by this simple factor — how many clients refer friends, neighbors and colleagues.”
- The Referral Engine, Teaching your Business to Market Itself.”
If you ask any local business their main source of business, most will say it’s through referrals from other customers. Even businesses who get referrals now would like more. Have you ever thought that you shouldn’t leave this to chance? But most local businesses do.
At OrangeSoda we focus a lot on one referral system – search engines. But there’s a lot more you can do–both online and offline–to generate more leads through referrals. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing tells you how to create referral systems in your business in his new book, “The Referral Engine, Teaching your Business to Market Itself.” Stay tuned–at the end of this post I’ll tell you how you could win my copy.
Referable businesses stand out and clearly and simply communicate how they are different from the other choices. The amazing part is, if you do this well, you will no longer have to compete on price. With the economy choking, this would be a huge relief, wouldn’t it?
“Every widely referred business I interviewed was one of the highest priced options in their respective markets and felt no pressure to compete on price.”
This is because if there is not a clear difference between your product and another people will choose the least expensive option. However, if you’re innovative you can charge more. iPods are a good example — even though there are a lot of mp3 players that cost less people will pay more to get an iPod.
If the act of deliberately seeking referrals is daunting to you, remember this: our brains are wired to make referrals. We like to feel validated and feel validated when we do something good — like refer business to someone. It’s satisfying.
We also like the element of surprise or delight, like the toy in the Cracker Jack box or the unexpected gift or touch that makes something stand out. Here’s an example. Gans Ink for offset printers comes in small paint cans. The company tosses in a handful of tootsie rolls in the packaging, in with the styrofoam packing. It is a small gesture but completely unexpected. It made me look forward to getting a new shipment of ink. That’s a talking point that could lead to referrals.
The book goes over 6 steps a potential customer takes before they will refer your business. Your goal is to build trust until someone buys from you and is pleased enough to become a repeat customer. I loved the story about a food business called Zingerman’s (zingermanscommunity.com) who has made $36 million in sales because they’re good at this.
Throughout the book I paid attention to what referrals the author made to other businesses. Sometimes he just mentioned them and other times he endorsed them. Interestingly, he endorsed books more often than products. That makes sense coming from an author. I find it easiest to refer books to people, too.
I particularly liked that he included sections about how marketing and advertising are different today. Not less effective, just changed. He also included how to approach Facebook and, my favorite, PR (or, public relations) as a referral engine.
“PR, and by that I mean positive mentions of your people, story, products, services, and activities in the media consumed by your ideal target market, is a woefully underutilized tool for lead and referral generation.”
The fun part is realizing that his book is doing just what it advocates–it’s a referral engine for John Jantsch. Reading it could be the first step in getting more referrals for you, too.
Now for an offer: who wants to win a SIGNED copy of this book?
It goes like this:
- Leave a comment telling us how you currently get referrals for your business
- Leave a comment about the last business you referred and why.
Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges here at OrangeSoda on Tuesday, May 4. In the event of a tie, we’ll use Random.org to randomly choose one of the top comments. We’ll contact you to get your mailing address. In the event we cannot reach you by Thursday May 4, 2010, we’ll choose a new winner.