Referrals are a vital source of sales for most small businesses. What separates the mediocre from the truly profitable referral marketers? Many pros are left scratching their head, wondering why some professionals seem to always have a mountain of new business while others sit around waiting for the phone to ring, you need to consider the referral marketing basics; the difference between mediocre and highly profitable referral marketing.
1. What is the quality of your business network?
Highly Profitable Referral Marketing: My business network is made up of top-notch service professionals I trust and whose quality of work I am familiar with. They refer people to me because they know I’m the best at what I do. We periodically reconvene to ensure we are both on target and continue to work toward our sales goals.
Mediocre Referral Marketing: My business network is an undefined cluster of people whom I have loose relationships with. I don’t personally know most of these people so it would be a bit uncomfortable to call them and talk referral marketing. I send out an email blast once in a while and hope for the best.
2. Do you regularly send referrals?
Highly Profitable Referral Marketing: I view referral marketing as a serious business activity and approach it with the same gravity as I would taxes, employees, and accounting. Everyday I am looking for more opportunities to refer people to other professionals I trust. Referral marketing allows me to leverage my most powerful asset; my reputation.
Mediocre Referral Marketing: I view referral marketing as a business-esque social activity. I expect people to send me business before I refer anyone to them. I sent one referral last month, unless an opportunity falls into my lap, I don’t bother.
3. What is the quality of the referrals you send?
Highly Profitable Referral Marketing: The people I refer are integral to maintaining my reputation amongst my associates. My long-term referral marketing success is contingent on my ability to create referral situations that are positive for both parties. It’s just as important that I refer quality prospects as it is that I am referring those prospects to quality professionals. I always follow up with both parties to ensure the referral was a success.
Mediocre Referral Marketing: I may refer someone but after that, it’s sort of out of my hands. My business associates should just be happy that I’m even sending people their way. If there is a problem they’ll let me know.
4. Are you organizing and tracking your referral relationships?
Highly Profitable Referral Marketing: I closely mange my referral marketing activities. To be successful I need to be able to answer fundamental questions. I want to know who’s in my network, which referrals are they sending to me and which am I sending to them? Are they following up on my referrals? Of the referrals I send and receive, which result in sales? Do my business networking partners feel the same way about our business relationship or are we totally out of sync? Which relationships need more attention? Are there opportunities to expand my network?
Mediocre Referral Marketing: I hand out business cards and wait for the phone to ring. I’m not exactly sure where my new business is coming from and I couldn’t really tell you how people in my network feel about the referrals I send them. I figure if there are any problems they can call me.