How’s Your Referral Engine Running?by sierratierra on Jun 17, 2010
If you’re not scared of close social boundaries, let me whisper this in your ear:
What if I told you that I’ve learned of a way to increase your customer base by having other people drum up business for you?
It’s true – but you’ll have to do a little reading first. The Referral Engine by John Jantsch explains how to groom current – even prospective – customers to be your sole method for gaining new, meaningful business. Between traditional word of mouth and the power of social media connections, your referral engine will eventually free you up to focus on other parts of your business.
The book isn’t just a “Here’s my philosophy. Best of luck to ya” treatise. Sure, the chapters carefully plot out the steps you need to take to get your referral engine humming. But Jantsch offers more: the end of the book provides dozens of examples of real world referral engines in action – from housecleaning services to law firms to auto dealers. (Additionally, the book’s Website provides many more resources for its readers.)
Here are two recent referral engine examples that I’ve come across that I’d like to share.
Anne Katzeff and I used to work for the same publishing company. About a year or so ago, she began her own design company. Whenever Anne gets a referral that lands her a new client, she sends the referrer a pack of notecards featuring her designs. Think of the benefits here: the referrer feels appreciated for giving the lead; the cards are shared with friends of the referrer; and the cards, with relevant contact information on the back, become both instant business cards and a peek in Anne’s portfolio.
In Third Tribe Marketing (the place where I first learned about The Referral Engine), I learned about a clever idea a massage therapist used to increase her client base. She planned to have a booth at a regional business fair. How did she fit her referral engine inside an 8×8 booth? She invited her past and current clients to visit her at the event. These clients mingled with fair attendees and spread the good word about her services. The referral engine was clearly in cruise control here: her customers felt special enough to be invited to her free event and that happiness translated into good conversation and praise for the masseuse. (See a video of the booth event here.)
What keeps the motor running on your referral engine? If your business needs a tune up in this regard, I suggest Jantsch’s latest book.