Most would agree that leveraging relationships to help grow your business makes a lot of sense. The most successful businesses get referrals, build online and offline communities to spread the word, and connect with their personal network – leading to new clients and their most productive partnerships.
They do this for good reason. They recognize the massive opportunity. Consider that:
• 83% of clients would refer others if asked
• If we know 300+ people and they know 300+ people – that’s 90,000 people that we should be talking to about our business!
So why doesn’t everyone just go ahead and do that? Mostly, “human nature” is the culprit!
It is hard, it can be awkward and it requires skill and courage. If you really can’t get yourself to ask your clients and personal network for referrals or to do business with you – you are not alone.
However, despite this, many of you are still out there swinging away! You are trying to get clients to refer you, and you are working on to how to better connect with your personal network.
If this sounds like you, I want to save you some time, energy and cost by helping you understand and avoid the 3 mistakes most make. This is based on my 35+ years training thousands of sales and marketing professionals, business owners and leaders along with my work with multiple marketing organizations.
See if any of these resonate with you:
1. Not clearly communicating the benefits
This may sound obvious, but more often than not the focus gets placed on “what is in it” for the business – not your client or personal network. Some phrases I see a lot in emails or hear from sales people:
– Help me grow my business
– Help me stay in business
– It helps me reduce my marketing costs
That’s not so bad – as long as everything you say or write translates to the benefit to your audience. Here are some examples that promote emotion and action:
– Help someone you care about
– You owe it to yourself to learn more about this
– To show my appreciation for taking the time to help others/other businesses, here is a gift card from __________ (their favorite provider)
– By recommending my business to others, you are making a difference by_______
2. Not having a system
How can any of us expect to ask our clients and networks consistently, authentically, skillfully and with the courage needed to actually ask – without a system? The answer is we won’t.
Whatever system you use should have 5 characteristics to work:
– It must happen automatically across your network(s)
– It need to be authentic to you to build trust
– It needs to be easy to set up and cost effective – or you just won’t do it.
– Your system must continuously add value to your network based on what is useful and relevant to your audience (sometimes having nothing to do with your business!)
– It must have metrics to track conversion and ROI
I have 2 recommended systems for you to look at. Both have all of the components above:
ReferMe IQ – This is the best and only system I have seen that focuses exclusively on getting your clients and personal network to continuously recommend your business.
HyperChatter – This is a way to completely automate your social media postings to get the word out about your business.
3. Taking too long to clarify the 4 elements of a business relationship
Every productive business relationship has an implicit or hopefully explicit contract that addresses 4 questions.
1. What do you need/want from this?
2. What do I need/want from this?
3. How can we best support each other to get that
4. What should we do first/next?
These can be addressed in multiple ways in your marketing efforts. For example, let’s say you are at a networking event. You meet someone who will be a great contact or potential client/customer. After you take a few seconds to upload them into ReferMe IQ on your smartphone (sorry for the shameless plug!), you would want to ask them what they need to grow their business – who are their best clients, tell them the same about what you need and who are your best clients, discuss how you can support each other, and then immediately agree to next steps. This can also be used as a guide for your copy in any email campaigns you may have to your network.
What I find is that too often it takes too long to get to this and one or both parties lose interest and move on.
I hope this helps!
To your success and Intelligent Marketing!