The Number One Mistake People Make When it Comes to Referral Marketing

Referral marketingThis week, we will focus on common mistakes that business owners often make in their marketing.  Many people view focusing on mistakes with a negative connotation, but in the world of marketing, it’s a very positive, intentional strategy that yields constant improvement.  This week we will focus specifically on strategy, website, and content mistakes – three big areas that you can tweak just a few things and begin to notice immediate results.  So this week, sit back, relax, and LEARN FROM THESE MISTAKES!

Our first post this week is a guest post that comes from the well-known marketing consultant John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, through which I am a certified marketing consultant.  Today he offers us insight on the most common mistake people make with the marketing strategy of referrals.  In this season of new beginnings, it’s an important mistake to avoid as you look into your business plan for the new year.

Don’t Make This Referral Marketing Mistake!

Everyone loves referrals, but let’s face it – the real point of a referral is a customer. If you’re getting plenty of referrals, but few are turning into new clients, it’s time to change a few things about your approach to referrals.

The number one mistake people make in the business of referral generation is to ask for leads or referrals when they should be asking for introductions.

So many people seek referrals by simply asking clients, or anyone that will listen, if they know anybody who needs what they do. If the referral source can come up with a few names we’re often tickled to have some new “leads” to go chase.

But, what do we really have? Something less than cold call – maybe. Sure, we can name drop, “Bob said I should call you.” But, we’ve all been on the other end of that call and know how that usually ends up.

If you want to make referral generation a significant part of your marketing success you need to start asking for introductions and not simply a list of names. You need to build the trust and leverage that would allow you to ask a client to introduce you to three others that could benefit from the value you bring.

In this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visit with Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now and the upcoming Beyond Referrals. Bill has spent many years coaching financial professionals on the fine art of authentic referral generation and in this segment he shares some well tested tactics.

The key to generating introductions is to make it as easy as possible for your referral source to do so. Offer a list of specific prospects you would like to meet and see if they know anyone on the list. Offer to host an informal educational workshop and allow your best customers to bring a friend or two. Take a handful of customers to lunch and ask them each to bring a guest.

Cates mentions a former client that would ask his clients to introduce him to two colleagues who would take his call just because they asked them to.

Getting your customers or contacts to rise to the level of engagement required to make introductions or bring a friend to lunch requires a level of value that few can muster. This is the key to making this idea work. You must bring value to every interaction, conversation and setting.

When you can do this, people will gladly introduce you to others. When you change the context of a referral to that of an introduction you automatically raise the stakes for all parties and that’s the place where you can do your magic.


john-jantschJohn Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer; Sell Like a Superstar and Duct Tape Marketing: The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine. He is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing.

Why Referral Marketing is Awesome [Infographic]

While content marketing and social media marketing are discussed and debated regularly, referral marketing is often neglected.

This is an infographic put together to remedy that. Learn about what Referral Marketing is, how it works, why it’s so effective, and why we think you ought to seriously consider incorporating it into your own marketing efforts. Enjoy!

Why Referral Marketing is Awesome - Infographic
ReferralCandy – Refer-a-friend Programs for Ecommerce Stores

How to Create Better Word-of-Mouth Marketing

word-of-mouth marketingWord-of-mouth marketing is the oldest form of marketing that exists, and it’s still very effective. In fact, one of the best ways to get more clients for any business owner is to increase your word-of-mouth marketing efforts. People trust hearing from those whom they know, or respect, or have other connections with more than they trust a specific type of advertisement.

8 Ways to Build Your Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

1. Ask for Referrals – If you want your current customers or contacts to give you referrals, it is important that you tell them that is what you want. The more you tell your contacts that you want them to recommend you to others, the more likely they are to do it.

2. Provide Sources with Details – A great way to ensure that you get the right type of referrals is to tell your customers and contacts exactly what type of clients you are looking for. That way they can be sure to tell the right people about you and your products and/or services.

3. Be a True Resource – The more you can offer to everyone you come into contact with, even if you cannot service them directly, the more you’ll be seen as a resource to others. They will then trust enough in your skill to recommend people who can be your actual clients.

4. Provide Incentives – There is nothing wrong with providing some incentives to your contacts to recommend you to others. You can do it before or after the fact. Some people have successfully given coupons and discounts to those who have recommended them, with great results.

5. Promote Testimonials – Ask for testimonials from your currently satisfied clients to share with your social media followers, website visitors, and within your sales pages. Once you receive a testimonial there are many ways in which you can use them to get more business.

6. Build a Community of Customers – One way to really catch your word-of-mouth marketing on fire is to build a community of customers who can speak with authority to your awesome services.

7. Create an Affiliate Program – A really fabulous way to create momentum in your word-of-mouth marketing is to open an affiliate program for customers only. They are the ones who can really speak to the level and quality of your services you offer.

8. Network Strategically – Many people with whom you have casual contact through networking events can be a wonderful resource for referrals. There are many networking groups that you can join to help you get the word out.

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best forms of marketing available and one of the least expensive. All you have to do is live up to your reputation and continue to under promise and over deliver so that your clients are thrilled by your products and services enough to keep the word-of-mouth going.

Feel free to contact us if we can help you develop a word-of-mouth marketing strategy or if you have any questions on employing your marketing strategy.