Taking Care of Your Referral Sources
by Wanda Loskot
I'm sure you agree that "by referrals" is one of the best ways of growing business - no money thrown away on advertising that doesn't work and no time wasted to convince strangers to do business with you. The referred leads are presold - because trust and confidence exist, at least to some degree. It boils down to getting more of that good thing - leads, right?
One of the best ways to get more leads is to focus on those who send you referrals already and to encourage them to do it more often. So, how are you doing in the department of rewarding your sources for referring you in the first place?
Most business people provide a referral reward or even some kind of fee to people helping them to obtain a lead that ends with a sale. Additionally some make it a standard practice to refer the source to their own potential clients when the opportunity arises. Some people have even different rewards for different types of leads. One thing is to mention your name - another is to insist that prospect contacts you. And another thing is to assist during the process of servicing...
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Probably the most common -- and the biggest -- mistake business people do in this area is rewarding contacts only for leads that result in closed sales. Just think. If the prospect didn't buy from you, that doesn't mean that the person who was considerate enough to think of you and sent you a lead didn't do the job! You might say that "the lead was poor quality" -- and it might be true. Regardless, you need to reward the BEHAVIOR of your network people, so that in the future the same person in similar situation again thinks of you instead of someone else.
My friend realtor sends for every referral a balloon bouquet, another friend who sells cellular phones - a cute little pen with company's logo and words "Thank you", my hair dresser: always a nice thank you note. I send variety of things - my own "Treasury of Quotes", small box of chocolates, thank your notes. The cost? A dollar. Maybe three. The mileage? Tremendous. You will be really surprised with the mileage you get from those little gifts when you begin to invest in the business through referrals and follow up not only on leads but also your referral sources.
Of course you might want to devise a special reward system for rewarding people on the internet. It might become too expensive and too overwhelming to send a box of chocolates to everyone who refers your site to a friend - you might want to set up some reward system through autoresponder or downloadable file. Drop in to my new site http://SaneMarketing.com and see how this can be done (you might even earn your own reward-tool to give away :-)
The bottom line? For EVERY lead you get -- give something back. It might a movie ticket or just a thank you note. It might be a gift certificate or more elaborate gift - depending on the type of your business and the potential value of a sale. Take care of your golden geese - it is called positive reinforcement.
Wanda Loskot can be reached at http://loska.com
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