The Referral Engine: The best way to market your business

The Referral EngineThe Referral Engine by John Jantsch caught my eye because I believe that referrals are the best way to market your business.

This book is definitely worth reading for the advice on how to get more referrals. The author makes the case that everyone likes to help others and therefore can be trained to send you more referrals (some need to be encouraged.) Once you determine your ideal client the author educates us about “the ideal customer life cycle.”

  1. Know—How the referred lead first learns about your company and what they learn.
  2. Like—The referred lead should want to dig deeper, this should solidify the likelihood that they will connect with you.
  3. Trust—If you have done your job of differentiating your company from competitors; the referred lead is ready to meet with you face-to-face.
  4. Try—Offer the referred lead a way to sample your product or service. You can start with a low cost transaction or reduce the risk by offering a guarantee.
  5. Buy—Now the lead has become a your customer because you performed beyond expectations (on-time, within budget, great product, as promised.) Now you have to keep them happy, ask for feedback. Give them opportunities to tell you how you can serve them better. Educate the customer through the products and services you offer, your behavior and your marketing materials so they have a clear picture of what you do.
  6. Repeat—Continue to offer great products and/or services with excellent communication and continue to provide feedback opportunities.
  7. Refer—At this point your client is likely to refer business to you.

Other gems from this book

  • Write your company’s story. A good story makes the client feel like they know you (builds trust) and makes it easier for the client to talk about your company in a positive and memorable way.
  • Create opportunities for your clients to interact with each other in person, tell them to bring friends.
  • Create opportunities for your clients to interact with each other online (social media)
  • Interview your own clients (video or audio)

Referral Motivation Strategy

Earlier I said that some clients need to be encouraged to refer business to you. This is where a referral motivation strategy is critical. The author makes it clear that money is not a motivator when it comes to referrals (I’ve tested this a found this to be true). The book was a bit weak in providing clear alternatives for motivation strategies. Here, the author relies too heavily on the assumption that everyone wants to help others. While I agree, some people are still very unlikely to make referrals, while other people take referrals so lightly they refer with abandon. If you want to learn more about read The Tipping Point: How Little Things can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. That said, I’m confident that following Jantsch’s advice will increase the number of referrals you get.

The author also addresses technology and social media and makes some good recommendations and, some I take issue with. For example, Jantsch recommends  blogging daily. I think that is a mistake. Blog when you are inspired: create original content, write clearly and make sure it is helpful to your audience.

Finally, this book reinforces what I consider the top three marketing activities: In person communication with your existing contacts, networking, and public speaking. All three of these have something in common: they are all done in person.

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