Today we’re going to talk about referrals. The best way to think about the referral process is that it is largely designed to gain new referrals from people who already love you. The easiest, most effective, most efficient, least expensive way to build your business is to use the trustworthiness of existing clients that have grown to love you and the service and the products that you provide.
For many years, I have been obsessed with the concept of internal marketing versus external marketing. I believe far too much money is spent on billboards and bus shelters and bus benches and church bulletins and newspapers. Are we kidding? Newspapers? There’s a whole demographic of people 20–30 years old that have hardly ever read a newspaper. Yet some people are still stuck on these conventional advertising methods that not only eat up your money, but are very difficult to track when it comes to return on investment.
Instead, if you use the ideas in this article, you can cut your advertising costs significantly.
Word-of-mouth internal marketing starts when you talk to an existing client. For the purposes of this article, let’s call him Mr. Bob Jones. Start your conversation by saying to Mr. Jones, “Can I ask you a question?” (By the way, no one’s ever answered this by saying “No.”) Then say:
We need to grow our business here at “Insert Your Business Name” and the way that we want to grow our business is with customers like you. I have a few questions to ask you. Are you currently satisfied with our service?
Well of course they’re satisfied, they’re excited, they’re happy. In fact, they might even be a personal friend. Your second question goes like this:
Well, Mr. Jones, we would like you to help us meet your friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives. Let’s start with your friends. Mr. Jones, the type of friend we’re talking about is when you call that person on the phone, you don’t have to say “Hey, it’s Bob.” They already know your voice. You’ve spent that much time with them. Which close friend of yours might appreciate our services?
At this point, I ask them if they could please write down the person’s name and number.
Very good. Who else? What other friend might you want to help us with that would appreciate our service. Write that down. How about your neighbor, Mr. Jones? We are looking for the type of neighbor that is there for you in a pinch. If there’s an emergency and you’ve got to immediately leave the house, you trust them; they’ll watch over the house or take care of an errand for you. Write that neighbor’s name down please.
Here, I pause to allow the client to think. They’re going through their mental computer, visually imagining who in their circle of influence would have needs that match our services. You will be shocked at what great information you will get, and also how much time you’ll save. Now that we’ve finished with friends and neighbors, we move to another sphere of influence.