In the past four editions we have looked at the general principles of working by referral as opposed to traditional methods of marketing.
Most people would prefer to work by referral and yet are unaware that a precise yet simple step by step strategy, that specifically targets referrals, exists. Not only does it target referrals, but it also ensures that the very best of your past and existing customers are retained as your best customers and your best referrers.
The following is an outline of the six basic steps to working by referral:-
Step 1: Build a database
Simply sit down and make a list of everyone you are acquainted with. This list should consist of absolutely everyone you know without regard for whether you feel comfortable with them or not. It should include your friends, family, associates, clients, past clients, anyone you know on a first and second name basis and for whom you have, or are able to obtain, contact details.
Step 2: Sort all the names down to A's, B's and C's
When we start with a list of every person we know, it is easiest to simply add a column to your list and insert either an A, B or C. The As are the people who you feel are most likely to refer you and ideally people you have dealt with in the past and were able to conduct the transaction or relationship in a professional and confident manner. The Bs are people who may at some stage in the future become As when you are able to build a better relationship with them. The Cs are people who you are just not sure about, but with whom it may still be worthwhile maintaining contact.
Step 3: Capture your database onto a specialized database management system.
While there are many database management systems on the market, the Turnkey system was designed specifically for the purpose of managing a qualified database with the specific goal of building, nurturing and maintaining strong, rewarding and lasting relationships.
Step 4: Qualify your database
In essence, the qualification process is letting your clients know that you work differently to most other businesses in that you work by referral. You send them interesting articles of information from time to time and all you ask in return is that if ever they know of anyone who could benefit from the services you provide that they would refer them onto you. The closing qualifying question would then sound something like this; “so if you were ever keen to use this product or service again, or had a friend or family member who was, am I the person you would refer them to?”
If the answer is ‘yes' then you have successfully qualified your client. When you have personally qualified all 100 odd people on your database, you would have reached a milestone that would make a huge difference to the responsiveness of your database as compared to just another list of names.
Step 5: Start a systematic program of personalized writtencommunication combined with personal contact, and always ASK or REMIND for referrals
The success of this system is dependant on achieving a demonstrated consistency and genuine sincere variation of types of communication over an extended period of time.
The Turnkey system has built into it the required number of types of communication and not only steers you in the right direction, it also tracks your performance and indicates your progress and percentage success. With the Turnkey membership programs you are able to choose from different levels of systemized programs. The top notch Turnkey program is called MailNet Ultimate Office. With this program your database is professionally and remotely managed on your behalf. Every month your clients receive a printed interesting article of information under cover of a personalized letter addressed to them by you.
Every form of communication dispatched from Ultimate Office is tracked on anonline system so that you are always able to see at a glance the degree of communication that has taken place over time.
With Ultimate Office you cannot but succeed in successfully implementing this amazing marketing system.
Step 6: Respond immediately to every referral with personal handwritten notes and referral rewards or gestures of appreciation
Peter Swensson is a specialist in the field of referral marketing strategies. He is passionate
about helping small businesses make the shift from the traditional ‘shotgun' approach to sales and marketing, to working exclusively by referral.