What To Do When You Don’t Have Enough Referrals?

I often hear comments like “we would like to get more referrals but we just don’t know how.”

But in the end it is a rather simple task to get more referrals.

There are three things you need to get more referrals:

An engaged client base.

You need your clients to be thinking of you all the time or “front of mind” presence otherwise they are never going to talk about you to potential new customers (their peers, friends and family). It’s that simple.

When you are “front of mind” they will talk about you when the opportunity arises. Your task is to build the relationship to remain front of mind.  It’s our business to help you do that. Then once you are front of mind you need to stay there.

It helps to have an outstanding product and deliver an amazing customer experience. But that only carries you so far. You’ll no doubt tell some of your friends and family about it but that is no guarantee that it will sustain client engagement for very long after the ‘event.’ You need to keep them engaged in order to get referrals out of them.

By Far the simplest, highest returning way to get and maintain client engagement is a printed monthly newsletter.

It Needs To Be Okay For Them To Refer

Quite frankly, you need to create a culture in your customer base that makes it at a minimum ‘okay for them to refer.’ If you don’t it’s like herding sheep. You are forever waiting for the first person to take action. Sheep naturally follow the leader – when you heard them, there is a waiting game while you gradually apply pressure so that the ‘first sheep’ gets the idea to do what you want. Then the rest follow.

This is understandable with referrals – your customers’ reputation is on the line when they refer someone to you. They want to know that you’ll not damage their existing relationship. Cos quite frankly if you stuff up, its not egg on your face it is egg on the referrers face. The best way to make it okay to refer is to demonstrate that everyone else refers clients to you.

They Need A Reason To Refer.

Most people like a little gratitude for their hard work. They have gone out and brought ‘fresh meat’ to you. So a little bribe to make their life a little richer won’t go astray. I recommend that you work out an acceptable cost per lead in your business and take that money to use it to buy gifts for people who refer. (Better if you can buy something with a higher retail value – say your Cost per lead is $20. Take your $20 and buy something that has a wholesale value of $20 and a retail value of $40…)

If you create a competition with a major prize where every referral is given an entry then there is another great incentive to for your clients to refer.

Bottom line: Getting referrals can be easy. Do a monthly newsletter print newsletter to get them engaged. Wok to create a culture where referrals are normal and finally, give your clients a reason to refer.



Why is everyone selling more leads?

I don’t know why but almost every business owner just wants more leads. You ask almost any business owner what will solve all their business problems and they will tell you, “more leads.”

If I could just ‘pour more water into the leaky bucket I might be able to fill it up one day.’

I just finished a consulting day with a client who started out by asking for more leads. Yes, they genuinely needed to put together a lead generation system and conversion system.

However, it turned out that they needed a whole lot more than that. They just didn’t know it. By the end of the day we had addressed his business’s issues in customer retention, and conversion.

If you have an effective conversion system and systems to retain existing customers, grow their value and to get them to refer, you need an awful lot less leads to make the same amount of money – but you can afford to buy a whole lot more.

Everybody in the Guru Space is Hell Bent on ignoring what You ‘need’ and giving You what You ‘want.’

If you go and get any education on business ,what does every marketing guru sell?

More leads.


If you peer under the hood, most businesses are not capable of handling more leads effectively. However all anyone ever promises is more leads from the internet or from print or from speaking or doing a book.

They are selling what the market says it wants. Cool toys. Results are far harder to get. Good marketing for making a quick dollar, but not for building anything of sustainable and lasting value. But unless you have the ability to improve more than just lead generation you often leave the customer with a sour taste in their mouth.

Think about how the guru’s sales pitch goes – “if you just have enough leads you’ll be a business success.” Every business is unique. It has its own problems that need to be solved. There is a sequence of how to implement changes in order to get the best possible return.

However it is human nature not to want to do all the hard work to fix a business. And it is a lot of hard work. That is the truth. Lots of leads are only the part of the solution. How well you can convert them determines how much you can spend on getting those leads and how well you can retain and, grow your customers while getting them to refer is a much stronger influence on your business’s success.

You’ve just had your first glimpse into what a complete sales and marketing system does. Welcome to the real business world away from marketing gurus getting you to trade your hard earned money for magic beans.

Go From Sale, To Life Time Customer In Three Easy Steps

Anything is easy once you know how to do it. Transforming a first time sale to a loyal lifetime customer is just as easy once you know how to do it.

Step 1: Realise that you are in this beyond that first transaction.

Yes I know this sounds obvious but it is the first step. But most sales people and business owners get a bit over excited about the first sale and neglect the super important question of what next?

So know that you are in it with the long haul with the customer and be sure not to jeopardise that first sale.

Step 2: Keep Building that relationship

If somebody buys from your business understand that if they are happy with what you deliver – (yes, you have to have a good product and you need to be able to sell it too) then they know firsthand that you do good work.

Know your main focus in your marketing needs to shift from getting them to buy to making sure that they remember you and want to come back.

Repeat purchasing is largely driven by whether or not the customer likes you. Which is based on their first purchasing experience – so if you delivered good value with your products and services and are working at being liked then you are on to a winner.

Being liked is about making you personally interesting to them as well as being interested in what they are doing. What could be considered high touch – being present without the goal of overtly making a sale. Greeting Cards, Newsletters and interesting and useful information would all be examples of ‘high touch.’

Step 3: Give Them More To Buy From you

Finally, on top of your relationship building you need to be sending your existing clients offers. Good offers to existing customers should be aiming to get them to buy larger value items and to buy from you more often.

The third dimension of customer lifetime value – the length of their lifetime is largely influenced by the quality of what you deliver and how well you do step 2. Build the relationship.

Like I said, easy once you know how isn’t it?


Selling Your Business For The Best Possible Price

When it comes time to finally sell your business, you’ve worked hard for it, you’ve worked hard in it and you would like to see the best possible price for it.

However, most business owners don’t do the work necessary in order to get the maximum possible sale price for their business.

The real value of a business is almost entirely in its list. I mean if you want to sell your business for more than the sum of its parts.

I have a very close friend who built up and sold a business that delivers meals designed to help you lose weight to your door for the week. He sold that up a few years ago and was paid out handsomely. He told me recently that it wasn’t until he delivered his customer data on a USB to the buyer and saw how excited they looked that he realised just how valuable customer data is.

They didn’t care about his ordering software… his high tech delivery routing program… anything to do with his location or how it was fitted out. All they wanted was the customer list.

This isn’t isolated. There was a magazine that was targeted to farmers, but they didn’t allow advertising. It was very popular and a lot of companies wanting to sell to farmers wanted to be advertising in that magazine. The song and dance went on until the one of the companies cracked and bought the magazine out for seven times its earnings.

There is nothing more valuable in your business than your customer database and your relationship with it –  well actually it is the results of that relationship that is so valuable, the customer loyalty and the referrals. To create a relationship with your customers requires investment and a system.

The system is the key part. Systems are what are valuable in business. It means that whoever buys your business will be able to use the same system and get the same results.

“Creativity is over-rated. Most business success comes from doing boring, diligent work. From developing a system that produces consistent results and sticking to it”

Ray Kroc. (The man who built McDonalds into the most successful fast food operation in the world.)

It is this boring work that is the key to business success. Developing and continuing to implement systems to achieve the outcomes you want. In this case building and maintaining a strong relationship with your customer list so that they will continue to buy from you and refer new customers to you.

The systems you create mean that you can sell a future revenue stream. That means you are in effect selling money at a discount. You buy my business for X and you’ll be almost guaranteed to get your money back in 5 years – less if you do the work to grow it… Or something like that.

That is the power of creating systems to maintain and grow the value of your most important asset in  business.

Effective Customer Relationship Marketing

Customer Relationship Marketing is all the marketing you do in order to retain a customer. In almost every business there is value in the customer that can be earned over time that far exceeds the value of the initial transaction.

The key to retaining a customer is marketing to them to create a relationship. Even in businesses where you would believe that an ongoing relationship isn’t that profitable such as real estate saes it still makes sense to build up customer relationships.

There are 5 ways that customer relationships marketing can be monetised beyond the first sale. I know that not all of them will obviously apply but if you can use one of them odds are relationship marketing will pay off in spades.

  1. Repeat Purchase of your basic product service
  2. Cross Selling your other products and services
  3. Referrals of new clients to you
  4. Joint Ventures or Other businesses promoting to your customers
  5. Increasing the Sale Price of your Business

Relationship marketing is foundation that leads to all of these opportunities. At its heart relationship marketing is about assembling a database of high value customers (to your business) and building a sustainable long term relationship with them so database continues to grow in size and  value to you and your business.

Harry S. Dent Forecast in ‘The Great Depression Ahead’ that businesses are being forced to align themselves around the customers they serve rather than the products they sell. So say you are florist, in Dent’s view of the world you will move from being ‘just a florist’ to selling many different things to your customer base around what they need want and desire, not just flowers.

Take the people who buy flowers as part of a romantic evening. They need all sorts of other things – chocolates, Champaign, I bet you could bundle a gift voucher in with the local high end restaurant into a gift pack… And so on. Oh wait I didn’t even come up with the idea check out www.1800flowers.com Flowers by occasion and they have a network of related sites selling other parts of the customers ‘overall need.’

Although I bet it does all 5 things to monetise its customer relaitonships www.1800flowers.com nicely uses it customer relationship marketing to stimulate repeat purchases and cross sells to existing  customer list.

A Simple Relationship Marketing Example

Say you have a restaurant that is open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner. There are 730 lunches and dinners in a year. As the restaurant owner you could get someone to eat all of those meals at your restaurant. Not likely, but you might be able to get them to eat with you once a month or more.

In ‘transactional marketing think’ you would see each customer as worth a single meal where in relationship marketing each customer is worth up to 730 meals a year for many years. So a relationship marketer would invest to get the customer to come in the first time. Then invest in forming a relationship with each customer, so that they returned many times until they moved away.

A great relationship marketing example is sending your customers a printed, monthly, customer newsletter.

A newsletter that shows up every month at the same time of the month 12 times a year, just like their favourite magazine. They will see that you as the business owner want to have a relationship with the customer and over time they will prefer to patronise your business to the exclusion of other businesses.

How many times has someone remarked to you that they prefer one store over another simply because the staff are friendly, polite and courteous, despite the other store offering cheaper prices?  A relationship marketing example trumping transactional marketing.

What is Relationship Marketing?

An example of relationship marketing that everyone could learn from.

So… What is relationship marketing? – well… Relationship Marketing is marketing based around the long term value of the customer. Many marketers often overlook lifetime value of the customer and focus solely on marking a sale.

Relationship marketing is based on the idea that the customer is the single most important asset class a business can have. If you have no customers then nobody is going to buy your products and services… Businesses don’t make any money until a customer buys something.

Customers can buy from a business many times. They can also buy different things. Using relationship marketing will lead to a longer and more profitable clients over the long term compared with using a simple transactional marketing model.