Referral Marketing | Renewable Referrals - SAQ's
(1)How prominent should my referral program be within my overall marketing plan?
The size of the role your referral program plays within your overall marketing plan depends on how eager you are to employ one of the most productive, cost-effective forms of marketing that results in a steady stream of highly-targeted, eager customers, hand-chosen by trusted partners who’ve practically closed the sale for you.
The amount of time and attention you devote to building and following your Referral Marketing system should match up with the results you wish to create.
That said, once your Referral Marketing program is up and running, delivering more ideal customers to you than you’ve ever had, you’ll be able to determine what portion of your overall marketing plan it should occupy.
(2) I need to generate revenue. Is a referral program worth the time and effort?
While your referral program might not yield results overnight, it may represent the fastest path to cash. This is because when trusted referral partners deliver hand-selected customers who’ve already come to know, like, and trust you, your sales cycle runs faster.
Referral Marketing is one of the most effective ways to tap into a steady stream of eager buyers, evening out the peaks and valleys in sales most businesses experience. By formalizing your Referral Marketing program, cultivating referral partner relationships, and building a referral system you can replicate at will, not only can you close more sales sooner, you’ll also likely never find yourself in the position you may be in now.
(3)How do I make it easy for people to give me referrals?
A productive Referral Marketing program runs on trust, and there’s no better way to build it than by spending time with your referral partners. Discuss what makes an ideal client for each of you as well as what problems you each solve for your customers. Make sure you provide a quick-reference guide to make this information accessible when it’s needed.
Odds are, your best referral partners will already be doing business with your ideal customers – and you’re probably already in touch with people your referral partners could serve well. Now it’s just a matter of connecting the dots, and that’s best done when you and your referral partners build a system that works for everyone.
(4) How do I find suitable referral partners?
Your best referral partners may be lurking upstream and downstream – just take a look. Most likely, your ideal customer needs a suite of products and services that are either loosely or directly connected. The businesses offering these products and services may prove to be ideal referral partners for you.
For example, if your ideal clients are business owners, your ideal referral partners may be attorneys, accountants, bankers, insurance agents, payroll companies, or office supply companies. Whether your ideal customers are likely to seek your products and services before or after doing business with one of these referral partners, you can build a referral relationship that helps everyone involved.
(5) Why can’t I close any of the referrals I get?
If you find yourself frustrated because even though you’re getting a steady stream of referrals, but very few ever become your customer, there’s a disconnect somewhere in your referral system.
Chances are, your referral partners don’t know how to recognize your ideal clients. When they don’t know any better, they people to you who can’t afford your services, who aren’t suffering from a problem you can solve, or whose needs otherwise don’t match up with your products or services.
The best way to make sure the referrals you get are the referrals you want is to build a system for educating your referral partners so they can spot ideal customers and send them to you.
(6) How can I reward referrals with something of value?
Cold, hard cash works… sometimes. But in many cases, the most effective way to reward your referral partners for sending ideal customers your way involves a bit more creativity. In fact, the type of referral reward you give depends a lot on the industry your referral partner is in, how much a new customer is worth to you, and how well you know your referral partner.
Did you know there are several points throughout the Referral Marketing process where it might be appropriate to reward your referral partners? Learning how to structure your referral rewards program will pay off with a steady stream of new customers.
(7) Should I have more than one referral partner that offers a particular product or service?
You absolutely should have more than one referral partner who can offer a particular product or service. Here’s why: Chances are, they each have a unique spin on how they solve problems using those products and services. Most definitely, they each have a different ideal customer they’d prefer to serve.
By having multiple referral partners offering the same product or service, you always have a resource you can recommend. This means that no matter how big or small the customer – or their budget – you can help them by making an appropriate match to a referral partner who will appreciate the business and delight the customer.
(8) How many referral partners should I have?
More is not necessarily better, but you want to have enough referral partners to ensure a steady stream of referral business. You’ll need to nurture referral partner relationships and to stay on each other’s radar so you remember to send referrals. Just as with any worthwhile relationship, this takes time and attention – so it’s a good idea to build gradually.
The good news is that once you build your first referral partner relationship, it is likely to lead to more. You’ll have results you can use as you pursue other potential partners, and you may even find that your referral partners refer other referral partners to you when they see how well your referral marketing program works for them.
(9) Why do you call it a Referral Marketing system?
Anyone can get lucky sometimes, but creating a steady and reliable stream of high-quality referrals requires a system. Successful businesses are built on systems that can be improved over time. Successful referrals depend on making a good match between a customer’s need and a business’ solution.
The best way to make good matches is to have the right information, including a description of a referral partner’s ideal customer and what problems that referral partner solves. With a referral marketing system in place, you’ll find it easy to gather and use the information you need to get, and give, more and better referrals.
(10) When I have a referral for one of my strategic partners, what’s the best way to make that introduction?
The best way to introduce your referral to your referral partner is… whatever you and your referral partner have discussed in advance. Phone, email, face-to-face, the best way to connect will vary depending on the situation.
There are lots of variables involved in a Referral Marketing program, including what an ideal customer looks like for each of you, how involved you’ll stay during the time you serve that new customer, how you’ll handle payment matters if you’re working together, and more. If you iron out and document all of these details before you send the first referral, you can avoid the potential stress and awkwardness of not knowing what to do.