Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Nine Ways to Create a Super-Charged Referral Marketing Program
|One of the best lessons I’ve learned from my involvement with NAWBO-OC (National Association of Women Business Owners) is that networking and referral marketing is a mainstay of business development. I’ve also learned that I need to create a process for getting the most out of networking. So, here are the nine principles of referral marketing I’ve identified. I’d love to hear how you’ve used these principles or if you have other techniques for building strong referral partner relationships with your contacts.
1. Cultivate a Referral Mindset — Think relationship networking and look for ways to add value to every conversation… conversations lead to contacts that lead to connections. Don’t be afraid to glow!
2. Know What You Want — Invest the time and resources to identify your ideal client. Then invest the time to identify the right referral partners for your business.
3. Create a Referral System — Now that you’ve identified a client profile and referral partner program, create a system to market to them. Identify the process you’ll take when you give and receive referrals.
4. Make Yourself “Referral Worthy” — Simply being in business isn’t enough. You must make yourself worthy of referrals. Why should someone trust you? What’s going to happen after the referral? Promote your referral system.
5. Work It — Do you wait for referrals or do you actively seek them? You give what you get — and you can’t get unless you ask! Consider a letter-writing campaign or use social networks.
6. Search for Referrals in All the Right Places — Make a list of all current and past clients, partners, employers and employees, networking partners, etc. Businesses today — especially small businesses — count on people connecting them to resources and contacts.
7. Network, Network, Network — Keep the referral pipeline filled by networking constantly. Treat each encounter as a networking opportunity and identify “formal” networking groups where you can get involved — be sure to take a leadership position.
8. Thank Referrals Publicly — Gold stars worked in kindergarten. They work now, too.
9. Create Buzz So Referrals Happen Naturally — Consider launching a PR campaign, which can lead to broader exposure and more clients.
These steps have helped me create a sustainable sales channel based on personal testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. What has worked for you?