Beth Boen has more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service. She is an award-winning marketer. She is also a professional trainer and customer experience consultant. Beth loves helping people build long-term, loyal relationships that produce quality connections in their business that lead to lifetime customers and endless referrals. Beth helps people do this through her thoughtful blogs and training curriculum. Members of SHE Leads Group have access to more in-depth business development training through presentations at meetings from Beth, her curriculum, and guest trainers. In addition to being the Founder of SHE Leads Group, Beth has had a training and consulting business, The Voice Customer Experience, that she started in 2005.
When referral marketing doesn't work
Some people know that referral marketing works, but they want it to work better. Other people say, “Referral marketing doesn’t work for my business. I’ve tried getting power partners to refer to me before and they won’t.” If referral marketing isn’t working for you, or you want it to work better for you, this article is for you!
Referral marketing is the highest ROI, least costly type of marketing for most businesses. When you get a referral it typically has a short sales cycle, too. So, it definitely should work. I believe the people who say, “I’ve tried that before and it did not work”, didn’t do it right. In my 30+ years of marketing experience, any time I have ever suggested a marketing strategy or tactic where the person said that it didn’t work, it was because they didn’t do it right. Not every marketing strategy and tactic is the same for every business, but if there was one marketing initiative that works for all businesses, it is referral marketing. So, why do some say that it doesn’t work or doesn’t work that well?
Many people in business development roles think they need to keep meeting new people to get referrals. They believe the more networking events they go to, the more people they will meet, the more referrals they will receive. But, what many fail to do is work the low hanging fruit of those they already know in their network. Many individuals are so focused on meeting new people, they fail to develop a strong relationship with those they have already met. Their goal is to keep meeting new people. They spend so much time meeting new people, they don’t have time to foster and build a relationship with those they have already met. A referral typically does not happen because you met someone at a networking event and exchanged business cards. Nor is it going to happen if you even exchange business cards at the event and set up a one-on-one networking meeting. So when does it happen?
We have all heard this said before, “People do business and refer to those they know, like and trust.” Getting people to know, like and trust you can take a little more time than what an individual wants to wait, but that is when the referrals start to happen. Once that first referral comes through and you take awesome care of the referral, you will continue to get referrals from that referral partner.
There are things you can do to earn their referrals a little faster. Getting to know someone personally and taking a genuine interest in them can definitely help. Figuring out how you can add value to the relationship can also advance the relationship at a faster pace. Listening to them, asking questions and not being too salesy, can also help. Staying top of mind with them with regular touch points (without being annoying) will also help them remember you and refer to you. Finally, try to get positive online reviews so when they do research you, they will see a stellar reputation about your business online.
If you are not earning referrals from someone who should be a good referral partner, it could be because of one of these reasons:
- They don’t know, like and trust you yet
- They don’t believe you have a better widget than the other widget provider to whom they currently refer
- Your pricing is too high to refer their clients to you
- You are not staying top of mind with your referral partners
- You are not adding value to the relationship
- Your online reputation is negative
- The other person maybe doesn’t understand referral marketing and is simply a taker
At SHE Leads Group, we offer business development training to assist with optimizing your referral marketing efforts. Being in a leads group that simply gets people together is not enough. Without the training to maximize your referral marketing efforts, you could just be showing up to the same old, same old meeting, week after week. If you want to experience the SHE difference, visit a chapter near you, where your business category is not already occupied by a member. We welcome guests!