This 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 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.