‘Word of mouth’ vs ‘Proactive referral strategy – which one will you choose?
Author: Russell SmithMarch 7, 2012
A couple of months ago, I received a phone call from a prospect (now client) who had been recommended by someone I used to work with.
Nothing strange there, only that I worked with this person 11 years ago and hadn’t spoken to them for at least 5 years!
Yesterday, we received another phone call from a prospect (now client) who had been recommended by someone I was in a networking group with, 3 years ago.
Nothing strange there, but – you’ve guessed it – I haven’t spoken to them in 3 years. I can’t actually track them down to thank them (I will keep trying).
This is what I call WORD OF MOUTH.
Its brilliant, but you can’t grow a business on this sort of randomness.
WORD OF MOUTH isn’t a marketing strategy, it is a luck strategy which may or may not pay off.
A proactive referral strategy is a systemised referral engine in which your business can rely on referrals for future business. This is because after a great deal of hard work (and making sure you are good at what you sell) it starts to become predictable. As in, you can predict that you will get 5 referrals this month.
Building a proactive referral strategy takes time but once you’ve done it, its pretty much there for a long time.
The strange thing about the proactive referral strategy is that unlike other forms of marketing it doesn’t start with you. It starts with others. The most powerful question you can ask in all networking is:
“How can I help you?”
If you help others to win business, you will win business yourself.
If this is starting to sound like a BNI podcast, I have to admit that three years ago I was brainwashed by BNI (Business Networking International) and have never been the same since. Not least because my referrals went through the roof.
The networking group that I founded is having a visitors days on Tuesday 20 March 2012 in Garforth, Leeds. If you are interested in learning more about proactive referral strategy and would like to come along, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org