The Key Ingredient To Boosting Word of Mouth & Referrals For Your Business

October

13

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Most business owners I talk to generate a large amount, the vast majority of their leads through referrals and word of mouth. Yet, when I ask about their process for generating referrals, many don't have one. This presents a huge opportunity for growth if you are in this boat. And that is why today I am going to talk about the key ingredient to boosting word of mouth and referrals for your business.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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The Key Ingredient To Boosting Word of Mouth & Referrals For Your Business

Most business owners I talk to generate a large amount, the vast majority of their leads through referrals and word of mouth. Yet, when I ask about their process for generating referrals, many don't have one. This presents a huge opportunity for growth if you are in this boat. And that is why today I am going to talk about the key ingredient to boosting word of mouth and referrals for your business.

I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thanks so much for taking the time to tune in.

Now, Henry Ford was quoted as saying, If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. So if you want to get more referrals and you have no process or system in place and you don't do anything about it, then it's just going to be the same, more of the same. So it is critically important if you want to generate more referrals that you have a process or a system in place for doing so. I'm going to share some key elements to consider so that you can create a strong referral process or system.

The Key Elements to Consider to Create a Strong Referral System

First thing I want to touch on is just why referrals are gold in marketing. There are a number of different reasons, but I'm going to highlight three of them. One is the trust factor. Referrals carry weight because they come from a trusted source. This person is already predisposed to you before you even have a conversation because somebody else said you need to talk to them. Huge trust factor there. Now, related to that, because there's so much trust, there is a high conversion rate on referrals. Referrals tend to convert at much higher rates than any other type of lead that you're going to generate. The third one is that they're cost effective, right? You are spending less money to get referrals or acquire leads through referral compared to other traditional marketing efforts. Those are three huge reasons why referrals are gold. So if they're gold, we got to put a process or a system in place so that we can generate as many as possible. Just doing great work and then waiting for people to refer you, in my opinion, is not enough. We need to be more proactive about it.

So the first thing that we need to really understand if we're going to create a strong process is we've got to map the customer journey, okay? What is the customer journey? The customer journey is that experience that a potential client and a client have from the minute they have this trigger event where they're like, Oh, my gosh, I need to solve this particular problem, all the way through buying and doing repeat and referral business. I love to think of the customer journey as an hourglass. This is from John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing, where he talks about the marketing hourglass. And just think about sand going through the hourglass. And there are seven steps: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. The reason I love this so much is you've got a bottom below the funnel. Most people look at the customer journey as a funnel, but when they do, they're really missing that repeat and referral business, which is so, so important. So when you think about the customer journey, hourglass, seven steps: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer. What's important about this for creating a referral process is we need to look at all the various touch points that a client has with us throughout that journey, okay? Because when we can identify the different touch points, then we can start to look at the optimal points for us to ask for referrals in that process. Let's look at that.

Step three, once we've mapped the journey and outlined the various touch points, then what we can do is identify the optimal points to ask for referrals. Here's a few examples after providing value. Right after you have delivered your service when satisfaction is super high and they've had enough experience to comfortably refer you to somebody, that is a great point to ask for a referral. Another one is through post-purchase feedback. So when clients are giving positive feedback or testimonials, that's another great time to do it. During regular check-ins. Most of us in the professional service realm have regular check-in points. We're working with customers and clients on an ongoing basis. Some of those regular touch points are another optimum point to do it. We're doing a lot of work with managed service providers and IT consultants. They have help desks. When you solve a problem for a client, right? A support ticket gets checked off, you solved it quickly and got to the bottom of it and they're moving on. That is a classic case of another touch point where it is a perfect opportunity to ask for referrals. There's not just one opportunity to ask for referrals. There are multiple, there are many.

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Powerful Tips on How to Ask for Referrals

And once we've identified those optimal points, then we can actually put in a process to ask for the referrals at those points. How do we do that? I have a few tips for you here.

One, be direct but polite. Don't beat around the bush. Clearly state what you're asking for and why. You can use tools. You can use your email marketing software and just put it in so that when those specific things happen, they get an email requesting a referral, okay? There's also, if you really dig into this, there's referral software and platforms to help facilitate this process. For most businesses, I don't think you need to go to that level. I think you can use the existing tools that you're already using in your business to help facilitate this process, but use tools to make it as easy as possible.

The other thing that you can also consider is to offer incentives. In B2B professional services, I would say probably half of businesses have some type of referral program where they're incentivizing referrals. I may be a little off there, but you don't have to incentivize for referrals. But if you can create a program that really does create a strong incentive to refer your business, I think it is a great, great way to go, and it can help boost the results you see from the process or system that you put in place for referrals. When you do ask for referrals, again, just keep it simple. If you just solved a particular problem, you could just say, Hey, so glad that we're able to solve that problem that you ran into. Do you happen to know one other person that could benefit from this type of experience. You can be specific. If you work with a very specific type of clientele, get specific. Do you know any other attorneys, if you're working with attorneys who might benefit from this type of service? Simple, easy, but direct. So ask for the referrals. If you don't ask, odds are you're not going to get.

Last thing to consider is making it seamless for clients. Simplicity, right? We've got to make this as simple as possible. Ensure that the process to refer is easy and quick. And just tell them how to do it. How can they refer you effectively? Make it as simple as possible because anytime we put hurdles in the way, there's going to be a lot of people that are going to fall off because they're not going to want to jump over those hurdles. So make it as simple and easy as possible and be clear about how to properly refer you, how to make it easy to refer you.

Provide materials, equip your customers or clients with referral cards or email templates that they can use. Again, this goes to making it simple. Joe, do you know another business owner like you that would benefit from having the same experience you did? Here's a quick way template that you can copy and paste to refer us to somebody else you know.

And then have a feedback loop. Keep the referral in the loop. If their referral becomes a client, thank them and update them on the process. Keep them in the loop. That's just another way of showing that you're proactive and that you really do care about the fact that they took the time to send somebody your way. So communicate clearly as a referee goes through the process back to the person that referred it to you.

Conclusion

I hope you found that helpful. The biggest takeaway from this is just have a process. If you have no process and referrals are coming in, that's awesome. You're doing great work. But if you're more proactive about it, how many more referrals can you generate? So put in a process, ask for referrals at optimal points throughout the customer journey, and I guarantee you will see quick results with your marketing. Super low hanging fruit for most businesses. So I hope you found this helpful.

Listen, referrals and retention are one of the nine revenue roadblocks that we help clients remove so that they can accelerate growth. If you want to know which of the nine roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over at RevenueRoadblockScorecard.com. It takes less than five minutes to get your customized report. Well worth it. Tons of value there, so go check it out. You can also always connect with us over at Rialtomarketing.com. That's R-I-A-L-T-Omarketing.com. You can always Book a Free Discovery Call there. So if you need some outside eyes on this or any of your other marketing that you're running into roadblocks on, head over there, book a free Discovery call. I'd be happy to chat with you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in, listen, watch. I appreciate you. Until next time, take care.


About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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