A popular theme these days in the business world is saying that you are a “by referral only” business. Unfortunately though, many people who claim to be so are in fact NOT doing business by referral, but rather they are waiting for business to fall into their laps.
These people have developed a misconception that you eventually get to a point in business where you no longer have to do any marketing. In reality, the need for marketing never goes away. Instead, the type of marketing changes. For example, you may not be marketing to a cold list anymore, but rather you market to your current clients and strategic partners in order to stay top of mind and gain more referrals.
So what needs to be done in order to claim that you are doing business by referral?
First, you must stand out from your competition. If you do things exactly like your competition you will never succeed in business. When doing business by referral you have to do things that make you worthy of referrals such as going above and beyond what the customer expects.
Second, you have to build relationships and stay top of mind in the mind of both your customers and your strategic partners. You can do this through various marketing methods such as newsletters, e-zines, cards, letters, small gifts, and more. When implemented in a systematic and consistent way, you will be able to create a culture where you are doing business by referral and you will be able to obtain predictable and track able referral results.
Third, when doing business by referral it is important to let your customers and strategic partners know what is in it for them. That means you need to reward them in some way, shape, or form whenever they give you a referral. The type of reward you give will depend upon your specific industry and any regulations you might have, but there is always a way to reward someone for a referral—even if it is not a monetary reward.
Doing business by referral is not a status to achieve in business, just to be displayed with a plaque on your wall. But rather it is a culture that is ingrained from the very core of your business. If you do not design a referral culture in your business, then doing business by referral is merely a childhood fantasy. And let’s face it while a dream world where no one has to work to grow their business may be a nice concept for your competition, the reality of customers that forget about them does not put food on their table or pay their mortgage. If you want to be different, you must begin doing business by referral. Start getting more referrals today by implementing the best referral marketing systems on the marketing!