A referral and follow up system… You may be asking yourself what do I need that for? I was reminded about a pretty well know fact after reading yesterdays post on Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch titled My Most Excellently Flawed Referral Survey. The survey questions had to do with the percentage of your business coming from referrals or word of mouth. Here is what John found:
69.3% felt over 50% of their business came by way of referral and yet, 79% further admitted they had no well-defined system to promote referral generation. The conclusion is we know how important referrals are yet we don’t take the time to create a system to attract them!
John also asked if you are not getting a consistent flow of referrals why not? 20% of the participants of the survey just skipped this question! Maybe after realizing so much business comes from referrals and acknowledging they have no system that thinking about why was just too much must for those in the survey to handle?
For years I have heard and seen similar numbers like this. Business owners and top sales professionals say things like the live for referrals yet if I ask the simple question of what do you do when you receive a referral I more often than not get a blank stare.
Receiving more referrals is pretty simple and there are many ways to do this.
- Simply asking your customers for referrals or people they know who can also use your product or service is a great place to start.
- Making sure you acknowledge and reward the referral senders will naturally grow the amount of referrals you receive. People will enjoy helping you and when you acknowledge and appreciate them and will in turn help you more.
- Staying top of mind with your customers, prospects, and referral sources will generate more business and referrals for you. You can do this by calling, emailing, sending greeting cards, and newsletters. Staying top of mind is customers and prospects is about creating a relationship.
The best referral and follow up system I have seen and used for years is SendOutCards. When used correctly you can create an explosion of referrals with very little effort. The reason for this is SendOutCards is a great system and once set up can go on autopilot. You can learn more about SendOutCards and how it might work for you by visiting this site. Fill out the contact information and I will call and talk to you about it personally.
Whether you use index cards, Excel, Outlook, SendOutCards, Act!, Goldmine, Saleceforce.com, or any of the many other CRM tools on the market the important thing is you use one. Commit to a system, spend the time to get it set up to work for your business, and then use it no matter what! The benefits of using your referral and follow up system will outweigh any time or pain you might feel getting it started!
So tell me, what system do you have? What are you doing to increase your referrals and follow up with your clients and prospects?
Last week I was asked to create a Top 10 blog list for blogs.com. I thought for a brief moment on what segment of blogs I would include and decided to focus on Marketing Blogs (and a few distractions). These are blog s that I read on a consistent weekly basis for many reasons… Some of them for the great content, a few are friends, and of course Gary Vaynerchuck for great ideas, content, and the constant reminder to be passionate for what I am doing! So here is my Top 10 Blogs showcased on blogs.com:
Top 10 Marketing Blogs (and a few distractions)
- DoshDosh – written by, Maki
- Duct Tape Marketing – written by, John Jantsch – founder of Duct Tape Marketing
- Gary Vaynerchuck – written by, Gary Vaynerchuck – founder of Wine Library TV
- Life of a Founder – written by, Jimmy Hendricks – founder of Collar Free
- Never Eat Alone Blog – written by, Keith Ferrazzi – author of Never Eat Alone
- Profit Minute – written by, Rod Moore, founder of Profit Minute
- Seth’s Blog – written by, Seth Godin – author of many best selling marketing books including his newest must read: Tribes
- Six Figure Moms Club – written by, Angie Swartz – founder of Six Figure Moms Club, author, and Executive Coach
- The Big Idea Blog – mirrors The Big Idea show on CNBC by Donny Deutsch
- copyblogger – written by, Brian Clark – copyblogger is one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs
Take a look at my Top 10 blogs and let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite Marketing Blog you read? Do you have a must read blog not on this list? Make sure to leave a comment so I can see one of your favorite blogs, it might just become one of my favorites as well.
A few last thoughts on my Top 10 Marketing Blogs. Last week when I was given the opportunity to submit my Top 10 list I could of easly decided not to. I was in the middle of many projects and really did not have the time to take on anything more. At the last minute I made it a priority and sent in my list for review. As a result my Top 10 list was selected and featured on blogs.com. By taking action and giving priority to this simple project I have received more exposure to my business and blog not to mention each of the blogs in my Top 10. The benifits to the added exposure will lead to stronger relationships, referrals, and clients. My questions to you are, “What simple tasks or projects are right in front of you? What projects could you complete that might give you more exposure and potential clients?”. You have opportunities in front of you right now! Look for the easy to ignore and simple tasks in front of you and make a point to complete them today!
What is the value of our current customers? In sales it seems we are always striving to get the next customer… So much of our time and effort is spent towards new customers. As sales professionals we do many things to get the next customer or client. Our sales cycle could be hours, days, months, or even years. All of this work just to get the next new customer.
And then it happens! We win the next contract, get the new client, win over our newest customer. Depending on what you are selling you may or may not have some role with this new customer , possibly in training, roll out, or just insuring the sale is complete. At some point our new sale is finished. You are done, the sale is final, and hopefully you have been paid, only to move on to do the cycle all over again. Spend all that time and energy to get the next new customer again.
So that’s it! Let’s move on to the next customer! Right? Wrong! Who is more important to follow up with? New leads, old leads, or existing customers? Existing customers! Don’t get me wrong, you always need to have a constant flow of new customers. My point is the customers you already have are a great resource for new ones! John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing talks about this in his article What’s Your Referral Number? John suggests creating a percentage baseline for the number of clients referring business to you. Finding this number will allow you to improve on your processes so you can achieve the maximum referrals from your clients. Following up with your current customers will not only help you with your customer retention, it will also lead you to new customers. Why not start tomorrow by calling 10 customers you have not spoken to in the last 30 days. Just check in with them and see how they are doing. Make sure they are happy with your product or service. Ask them if you can do anything for them. It shows great customer service and you might just receive a referral to your next new client!
Remember the time you focus on your current customers will allow you to attract new clients with ease. Sometimes the all alluring next new client is right in front of you! All you need to do if followup, stay engaged, and build on the relationship you have already created.