Referral Marketing: There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
You always get what you pay for ...
Networking is a cheap and easy way to get new clients, any fool can do it. All you have to do is pay out for a few breakfasts or go to some of the many free seminars that people run and you can pick up business ...
It may work for some of you, but you're few and far between and probably not very popular!
The reality is that like any form of marketing, referral marketing is not free! Done properly, however, it will give you the best return on investment. So what are the investments you need to make?
First off, all the background marketing collateral needs to be in place as with any marketing plan including branding, website, brochures, market research etc.
"Referral marketing is about meeting people so there are charges for attending networking events!"
Yes, you can spend your time going around free seminars and there's plenty to choose from. My experience of these is that they are full of people looking to engage with the people running the seminar. No one organises these without an agenda, which is usually to attract new clients. The other group of people there are those looking for free access to potential clients - you!
On the other hand, business networking events that are specifically designed to connect people and generate business, charge for their services. Up to a point, the more you pay for this, the more effort the organisers will put into making sure the event does just that.
It's their business after all and they want to delight their customers. Choose the one for you with as much care as any other business purchase.
As well as money, Mike Macedonio, President of the Referral Institute, in his blog reminds us of the hidden cost of time spent on referral marketing. He estimates that most serious networkers will spend 8 hours - that's one working day per week - on referral marketing activities.
Lastly, do you know what you don't know? Don't forget to continue your investment in your own knowledge and skills to become proficient in the proven techniques that underpin your referral marketing plan. That way you will ensure you don't waste that precious 8 hours.
So what are the returns for this investment? What makes referral marketing so cost effective?
You will have more high quality introductions to your best clients because they are the people that your referral partners know you want to meet. Remember they already know them. No more accepting whatever comes your way.
Your conversion rate will increase as your referral partners will have identified there is a real need for your services and then endorsed you so that the prospect is ready to buy from you. So no more wasted time on sales meetings that come to nothing.
You will have a stronger, more reliable and committed network of business contacts to ensure your network is sustainable long term.
You will have time for other activities and to enjoy the results of your success.
Done properly referral marketing will give you a clear tracking system to map your activities back to your sales success. This way you can fine-tune your activities to do more of what works for you.
So my tip this week is: Maximise your investment in your network. Use our (almost free) checklist to assess if you have all the pieces in place to have a fully effective Referral Marketing Plan and the skills to put it into action. Click here to receive your copy.
Why only almost free? Because you will have to invest some time in filling it out and acting on what it tells you.
If you'd like a conversation with me about how to get the best return on investment from your marketing, then why not give me a call on 07970 638857 to find out more?
Until next time ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those “aha” moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forwards. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!