You would never roll out an important initiative without a thought-out plan, yet many business leaders have no plan in place for increasing their referrals. People may recognize your quality work, but the truth is if you want more referrals, a referral strategy is a must.
In my recent article, The Role Your Personal Brand Plays in Getting More Referrals, I outlined the importance of your personal brand in aligning your referral strategy. A personal brand creates a consistent impression and differentiates you.
Just like your personal brand, an effective business brand helps you to stand out. Your brand strategy should include how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering your brand messages.
What does knowing your business brand have to do with getting more referrals?
When you know the specifics of who and how you serve others, it makes it easy to identify the venues to attend to get in front of your ideal clients. There’s an added benefit to being clear. Your referral sources will send you the best match when you’re clear in describing them.
While you may be able to describe your ideal clients to you referral sources, don’t fall prey to one of the biggest mistakes business leaders make. You rely on what you think your clients think.
As a business leader, it’s your job to know what your ideal clients or customers think. But, don’t guess. The way to know what your clients think is to ask them. Learn their needs, habits, and desired outcomes.
An easy way to consistently identify your client’s needs, habits, and desired outcomes is to build a strong lead generation system. Your lead generation system is an effective way to introduce your brand to your customers and makes it easy for your referral sources to refer others to you.
A lead generation system can reside on your website but is more than just a way for your ideal prospects to opt in. There are two distinct reasons you want to a have a lead generation system:
1. With an effective lead generation system, you’ll specifically discover what’s most important priority or biggest obstacle for your ideal prospects.
Let’s assume one of your referral sources refers someone to your organization. That person visits your website and is inundated with ways to join your organization or buy from you. Their experience lands like asking someone to marry you on the first date.
Instead, offer a compelling downloadable ebook, infographic, white paper, or audio that adds instant value to them, it’s like extending your hand. As part of the process, ask them what’s most important to them or their biggest obstacle (in the area of expertise your company or organization provides).
Now, you have instant insight into your prospect’s needs or desired outcomes. It’s also a great way to cultivate the relationship until they make the decision to do business with you. As part of your networking strategy, your lead generation system can pre-qualify your prospects, too.
2. A lead generation system makes it easy for your referral sources to refer others to you.
Your referral sources should know the best way to refer others to you. If you have a lead generation system, it gives your referral sources an easy identifiable first step in doing business with you. This step also captures your prospect’s information, asks what’s on their mind, and when done right, integrates a timely follow-up process.
Audit the current state of your referral marketing strategy. Make sure your systems are set up to welcome new prospects that referral sources send your way. If you need help in getting started, join us for the upcoming Profitability Lab: Introduction either at our Canton, Michigan headquarters or online at http://www.profitabilitylab.com
P.S. Attending the #ASAE15 Conference? Join me for Next-Level Networking: Nice, Naughty and Non-Starter Strategies