Getting and converting referrals in “Virtual World”
Your top 10 tip Guide
Let’s face it – the marketing world has changed in a big way. Face to face referral opportunities have declined dramatically, there is more noise and content than ever competing for consumer attention, and emotions and fear are running hot. All of this has made an already difficult task of getting and converting referrals even harder. In many cases, people have just stopped asking (if they ever did in the first place). All of this has put the brakes on referrals and has negatively impacted revenue growth.
The good news? It is totally unnecessary. Here are 10 actions you can take now to get you back in the referral game, and increase referral activity and conversion, leading to revenue growth.
1. Re-connect to your “why”
Having a strong “why” can provide the strength you need to stay persistent towards any worthy goal despite massive change and/or adversity. Here are some highly relevant “why” questions to answer for yourself:
2. Have a marketing plan
During changing and trying times like these, having a plan can help you navigate better by defining the what, why and how. Doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming, but it can produce tremendous focus and energy towards your “why”.
If you have one, why not revisit yours in light of the current environment and make some changes with the ideas in this guide?
Tactic(s): If you don’t have one and need a jumping off point, download our free Marketing Plan Template.
3. Increase your touches with all layers of your relationships
Today, there are more reasons than ever for your clients and network to meet with you. This truly is the year of the “certainty of uncertainty”. Risks abound everywhere – whether health, finances, business, family pressures and more. People are lonelier than ever and want connection and meaning. No matter what your value proposition is, people have more time to meet with you, and they have concerns you can help them with.
4. Optimize your virtual meetings
Your objectives are to discover needs that you can fulfill, add value no matter what, and to simply nurture the relationship. This will make you more referrable and will lead to more business over time. Your agenda should be to ask questions, actively listen, empathize, then provide direction and help through your value proposition.
The challenge is to replace all the verbal and non- verbal cues that build trust and credibility face to face by being more purposeful in your virtual meetings.
Some key tips to make your virtual meetings most effective…
Tactic(s): Record yourself in your virtual meetings and ask trusted advisors to provide
5. Leverage technology – make it easier to ask for referrals in virtual meetings
If you are like most people, your virtual meetings may go like this. You plan to ask at the end, maybe you even practice what to say – then the demons enter your head and you find any reason not to ask. Sound familiar? There is a fun short video on our website you can check out that demonstrates what really goes on more often than not.
So, what can you do about that?
6. Embrace the 5 key behaviors of referral success
No matter what system you use (if you have a system), you will only need to do 5 things to consistently generate and convert referrals to “ideal clients”.
The problem is, most don’t do all or even some of these. Why? Simple human nature. We avoid pain and move towards pleasure. Because most people lack the skills and emotional competence to do those 5 things – this task can create awkwardness leading to anxiety leading to, well, you know. Because anxiety is higher than ever given the global pandemic (still going strong at the time of this writing) – for some, even thinking about asking for referrals can be paralyzing. This is true despite what we know – 83% would refer if asked, it is the #1 way consumers want to learn about you, 400% higher conversion for you, humans want to help other humans, your key to personal and economic freedom, etc. Doesn’t matter – we are talking powerful emotions here so systematize it so it happens no matter how you feel in a given moment.
Tactic(s): Take the self – awareness quiz:
7. Automate your referral system
Successful businesses of all types automate processes that are mission critical to the business – especially where there is dependency on human behavior that creates unpredictability. That is the foundation of the digital revolution that was accelerated with the Pandemic. The case for automating your referral process is beyond compelling.
8. Fish in the “Relationship Pond”
Most businesses spend too much money, waste too much time, and create too much complexity with too low conversion by fishing in the “stranger pond” vs. the “relationship pond”. I am not saying don’t do it – doing “top of the funnel” type activities is important to brand awareness, test and learn, and can generate meaningful organic traffic to your business. I am talking email campaigns, social posts, paid media, etc. The issue is that so many businesses put disproportional focus and spend against that and miss the leverage of relationship marketing. Think of it this way. If you have 300 quality relationships that also have 300 quality relationships – that’s 90,000 people just 1 introduction away! Why not focus on defining which ones represent your target clients and use use a system that facilitates a proper introduction to them? That will reduce your overall cost per client, improve ROI of your marketing spend, and free up lots of time to focus on your “genius”.
9. Leverage text/SMS for referrals
One of the emerging best practices in the referral game in light of the “digital revolution” is using text/SMS as a tool to generate referrals. With shorter attention spans and all the information noise out there, many people rely on it and other forms of “instant messaging” as their primary communication method. The reason it works so well for referrals is that it makes it so easy for your relationships to refer, works especially well in virtual meetings, and makes it easier to talk about. It is one of the top drivers of referrals in our ReferMe IQ system.
10. Make sure you are referrable!
It is widely known that there are three primary drivers that influence how referrable you and your business may be. This is the “ante” into the referral game. Doesn’t matter what system you use or how skilled you are at asking for referrals, if you are not referrable, you will face an uphill battle with this. Here are the 3 actions:
a. Consistent contact – nothing shows you care more than staying in touch and checking in on your key relationships. The opposite is also true. This is not always easy when you have a lot of contacts to stay in touch with and with competing priorities.
b. Add value at every interaction – this can come in many forms including asking great questions and actively listening, helping people clarify goals, providing relevant advice, connecting them to valuable resources, sharing helpful information or simply providing humor and entertainment in difficult times.
c. Demonstrate the 4 values of refer-ability – according to entrepreneurial guru, Dan Sullivan:
The bottom line: anyone can make significant progress stepping up their referral game by having some self-awareness, a plan and a system.
ReferMe IQ™ is passionate about helping organizations build high growth, referral-based businesses with their “state of the art” automated referral platform. Peter S. Velardi is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur who has impacted thousands of individuals and organizations to build a fast growing referral based business.
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