The Power of Referral Marketing

Somehow, people innately have the desire to help others and generally want to see others succeed.  Last week, for example, I was at a workshop and talking in a group with about 5 or 6 people.  I casually asked if anyone could recommend a good restaurant in the area.  Immediately, I had 3 or 4 possibilities.  Now, let’s think about how many times people will tell you about their favorite things without you even asking.  That occurs all the time—especially with tools like Facebook now.  We frequently get recommendations for things we’ve never asked about.  We are constantly announcing our favorite tools, books, gadgets etc.

If I asked for your opinion, it means I want to hear what you have to say and that I trust your opinion.  It means you have established some level of credibility and trust.  On the weekend, we were shopping for a new refrigerator.  I took a quick look on-line at the reviews of the products were most interested in.  Despite the fact that I didn’t actually know anyone who’d posted a review, I still put a fair amount of trust in the information they were sharing.  I’m pretty confident that most people aren’t wasting their time going on-line and boasting about a product if they’d never used it and I’m equally confident that they are only motivated to post their dissatisfaction, if, in fact, they had suffered through using the item.  People are more likely to follow and trust the guidance and referrals of someone they know, a colleague, a friend, a mentor, even someone they don’t know, over the sales pitch from even the most reputable store or sales person.

The real question here is how can you use the power of referral marketing—how can you tap into your customer’s natural desire to help by recommending your product or service?  The first is simply by asking.  Not enough of us ever ask for referrals.  Make it a condition of doing business with you and ask for referrals when you’re making the sale.

Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot from me on the power of Referral Marketing.  John Jantsch, the creator of Duct Tape Marketing, has a new book coming out “The Referral Engine”.  The book goes on sale May 13th.  If you’d like an advance copy of Chapter 1, drop me a note at Kelly@whandassociates.com.

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