A Marketing Secret that is 10 X More Effective (And Won’t Raise Your Marketing Budget)


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When you read a head­line like the above, the first thing that prob­a­bly comes to mind is, “Nice inter­net hoax … catchy head­line, empty promises.” But before you dis­miss the pos­si­bil­ity of imple­ment­ing a tech­nique that is ten times more effec­tive in get­ting new cus­tomers — and doesn’t require a mar­ket­ing bud­get that could pay for a Super Bowl com­mer­cial — read on. We’re not talk­ing here about a viral mar­ket­ing cam­paign or a break­through sales-lead tech­nol­ogy; we’re talk­ing about some­thing that your com­pany already uses, relies on, and that prob­a­bly has already gained a lot of busi­ness for you. Are you ready for the secret?


Yes. Old-fashioned busi­ness refer­rals. Before “mar­ket­ing” ever became a term, trust and word-of-mouth are what built busi­ness, and today, the use of refer­rals to drive busi­ness remains one of the most effec­tive ways to increase busi­ness. Research has shown that refer­rals are ten times more effec­tive than other mar­ket­ing tools, and they cost next to noth­ing – just a com­mit­ted invest­ment into your cus­tomer relationships.

If you feel like you need to take a refresher on how to increase refer­rals and cus­tomer loy­alty, read on. We have some of the most effec­tive tech­niques out­lined for you below.

Set up a refer­ral program

You wouldn’t build a house with­out a set of archi­tec­tural plans, would you? Of course not. Just like you wouldn’t hope that your refer­rals would mag­i­cally increase with­out a ded­i­cated plan in place.

In business-to-business (B2B) envi­ron­ments, respect that your cus­tomers are plac­ing their own rep­u­ta­tion at risk when they give some­one a refer­ral on your behalf. Make sure you give your cus­tomers the recog­ni­tion that they deserve for plac­ing the trust in you and advo­cat­ing for your prod­uct or ser­vice. Giv­ing some sort of refer­ral gift or dis­count is per­fectly accept­able, but choose some sort of incen­tive that is appro­pri­ate, and above all, if you promise some sort of refer­ral gift, make sure you deliver.

Rela­tion­ships build refer­rals, and train­ing builds rela­tion­ship skills

Hav­ing good peo­ple skills alone is not going to drive refer­rals. Refer­rals hap­pen when your cus­tomer ser­vice and sales teams have a thor­ough knowl­edge of your prod­uct, the sales cycle, and how to nur­ture long-term rela­tion­ships. Invest in sales train­ing and coach­ing, and you’ll be invest­ing in your refer­ral program.

Over-perform and go the extra mile

A great way to ensure refer­rals is to treat each and every cus­tomer like he or she is your only cus­tomer. Go the extra mile and make the cus­tomer feel spe­cial, val­ued, and like he is a pri­or­ity. This per­sonal, spe­cial touch can do won­ders in terms of how peo­ple speak about your company’s sales people.

Believe in “refer­ral karma”

Call it what you may, but refer­ring on behalf of other com­pa­nies and busi­nesses does work. Try to make a refer­ral a week on behalf of other com­pa­nies, and show your com­mit­ment to the idea that advo­cat­ing for oth­ers is a smart way to spread busi­ness and build trust.

Follow-up and keep the rela­tion­ship going, even after the sale

Refer­rals don’t usu­ally mag­i­cally appear just because you made a suc­cess­ful sale. Peo­ple will rec­om­mend your prod­uct or ser­vice because they enjoyed the over­all expe­ri­ence of work­ing with you and your com­pany; refer­rals aren’t just about a supe­rior prod­uct. Keep the busi­ness chan­nels open by fol­low­ing up, check­ing in, and build­ing a busi­ness rela­tion­ship with your cus­tomers, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily involve you try­ing to sell them some­thing. Show your cus­tomers you value their rela­tion­ship by remain­ing friendly and stay­ing on their radar. Check in to see how the prod­uct is per­form­ing. Ask them if there is any­thing else you could help them with, and let them know you are avail­able to answer questions.

These are the types of rela­tion­ships that will build refer­rals. Your clients will refer you because you have become not just a sales­per­son, but an ally, an advo­cate for their busi­ness, and a friend.

Refer­rals don’t just hap­pen – they take work

We hope that if you’ve got­ten any­thing out of this arti­cle, you’ve learned that refer­rals don’t just mag­i­cally appear. They may not require a mar­ket­ing bud­get, but they do require an invest­ment of your time, train­ing of your sales staff, and a com­pany phi­los­o­phy that is com­mit­ted to long-term cus­tomer rela­tion­ships and build­ing trust.

The reward is well worth it: Happy cus­tomers who trust you enough to tell their busi­ness con­tacts that you are worth work­ing with.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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