Presentation: How Can You Generate Unlimited Referrals?

This presentation of How Can You Generate Unlimited Referrals? is taken from the Successnet website How Can You Generate Unlimited Referrals?

You know the usual: Wow your clients. Demonstrate a high level of service to everyone who comes in contact with your business, because everyone who comes in contact with your business is a potential customer or referral source. Exceed their expectations. Once you have wowed your clients, collect testimonials. One way is to survey your clients at the beginning, middle, and end of the sales process. Maybe send a gift (flowers, cookies, etc.) along with your testimonial requests. You will be at the top of their minds, and they will be more likely to respond. Collect your surveys in writing by using short, quick-answer questionnaires of ten questions or less. Here are sample questions:

  1. Why did you choose to do business with us?
  2. Was your transaction completed on time? YES / NO
  3. How would you rate our courtesy? EXCELLENT / GOOD / FAIR / POOR
  4. How would you rate our efficiency and speed? EXCELLENT / GOOD / FAIR / POOR
  5. How would you evaluate the competitiveness of the price you received on your product? EXCELLENT / GOOD / FAIR / POOR
  6. Overall, how would you rate the service you received during this transaction? EXCELLENT / GOOD / FAIR / POOR
  7. Have you ever purchased a similar product / used a similar service, from another company other? YES / NO
  8. Did we meet or exceed your expectations?
  9. How could we have done better?
  10. Would you recommend us to a friend or relative? YES / NO

Ask for permission to share these experiences for your marketing material. This will be for the next step, which is…

Generate case studies: Combine the data from these questionnaires with specific measurable results your client experienced, and write that up into a case study which has a clear explanation of your service, and how you helped your client.

Put these case studies on your website. Pass them on:

  • Use them to educate your centers of influence and referral sources. Give them copies of several case studies so they can see the financial incentives that their friends, and business contacts could achieve by working with you.
  • Do a presentation at your BNI meeting!
  • Give a copy to the client. And point out how they are better off as a result of working with you. Encourage them to share with their network, so word gets out about how you may be able to help them achieve similar results!

In conclusion: When you deliver a high level of service, and then

  • Collect testimonials,
  • Build case studies,
  • And share them,

Your clients and colleagues will jump at the chance to tell their family, friends, and co-workers about your service, and you will generate many more referrals.


Presentation Outline: Website Assessments

Goals of a business website:

  • To make a good impression.
  • Put across your competence, trustworthiness, professionalism. Do you look like you can do the job?
  • Generate business.

Do this all in a very short time, or they will leave.

Splash page: Do not do them.

  • Don’t make me think’.
  • Tells me nothing.
  • Kiss Google placement goodbye.

Does it grab your attention? I like Fhoss Canada because we had to put across the uniqueness of the product in a very brief time.

Branding: Perfectly Clear

  • Tie-in between website and physical presence.
  • Orange website, orange vehicles and uniforms, same logo, it all matches.

Colours & imagery: West Coast Pre Fab

  • Are powerful! They affect our feelings, perceptions, and interactions.
  • A good colour scheme on a website can help create a positive user experience.
  • Good solid, industrial feel, mouse overs.
  • Good tip, work with your designers to determine the message you want to put across, the look and feel you want to convey, and then leave it to them to make you look great.

Identification: Cycle Therapy
Tells a website visitor the purpose of your website, who or what your business is and where, if applicable, you are located, geographic or demographic market.
Bikes / Duncan market / Phone & address / CTA

Title tags: What Google sees.

Mobile: Explosive growth in tablets and smartphones, so websites need to have Responsive Website Design / RWD: Cycle Therapy

To conclude: A good business website puts across:

  • Your professionalism.
  • What you do.
  • Where you do it, your geographic or target market.
  • What to do on the site: CTA / Call To Action
  • How to contact you.

Presentation: Asking Effective Questions

Do any of you go to other business events? Mixers? Open houses? This can even apply with social events too. You want to get business, you want to increase your VCP (Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability). You want people to like you, because we do business with people we know, like and trust. To do that, you have to talk to people. What not to do:

  • Don’t be a bore.
  • Don’t ask veiled qualifying questions.
  • Don’t push your business with horror stories or shock value, or act like a shark. Don’t run a conversation like:
  • You: Going on vacation?
    Victim: Yes, I’m flying to Mexico to do some fishing.
    You: What? What if the plane crashes? What if you get killed? Do you have insurance? Do you have a will? Will your next of kin need a home renovation done? What if your paint peels? Or your windows get dirty? Or your ink dries out?

No. You do not want to do it that way. What should you do? Ask questions. Encourage people to talk about themselves as it relates to their business. Remember you aren’t hunting. The goal isn’t to hit a new client over the head and drag him back to the cave. You are farming, you want to nurture the relationship so you can follow up later and build a mutual referral network with the person. You want to ask questions that show a genuine interest in the other person and the business. Some of these questions focus on how the businessperson gets clients, and can therefore help you make referrals, so keep your ear out for referral opportunities. These are questions that people aren’t usually asked. Questions like:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. What made you want to start up this business, OR What got you started in this industry?
  3. What kind of clients do you typically work with?
  4. Where is your business located?
  5. What is your geographic coverage?
  6. What do you like best about what you do? This helps keep the conversation going, as you find out more about the business, the person’s likes, and experience. You may be asked the same question, so be prepared with a good answer.
  7. What are some of your biggest challenges? You may learn about the dreams, passion and motivation for being in business.
  8. Where else do you usually network? This will tell you who else the person could be connected with, and provide you with good tips.
  9. What can I do to help? This last question shows that you have the other person’s interests in mind, and is an excellent way to build the credibility and trust that you will need.

These questions will make you memorable, because they are rarely asked. They will make you credible and start to build trust because they show your genuine interest in the other person. This puts you on your way to building a profitable referral relationship.
Details/background/resources: Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections, co-authorded by Dr. Ivan Misner.

Article: 5 Reasons Why Do-it-Yourself Marketing Can Actually Hurt Your Business

Found a great article: 5 Reasons Why Do-it-Yourself Marketing Can Actually Hurt Your Business

I like #5, especially as it relates to people thinking they can create their own websites.

5)   DIY  Doesn’t Really Save Money.

Because you’re not spending money on outside resources you might think you’re saving tons of money with a DIY approach. Just remember this…it’s not just what you spend, it’s what you spend and get back on what you spend.

Great marketing will get you back more, and sometimes significantly more, than what you spend. So, how do you get great marketing? You find and hire great marketing people, like Steve Jobs did, like Nike’s Phil Knight did, and like every successful business owner does. And, they didn’t just do it when they were big successful companies with huge marketing budgets. They did it from the very beginning of their companies, only months after they incorporated.

You also have to factor in what your time is worth. It’s not cheap. If you kept track of every minute you spent trying to do it yourself and applied a dollar value to that, you’d be surprised at the expense. Also realize that every expensive minute you spend fumbling with something you don’t do great is taking away valuable time and talent from something you do do great. That’s another expense.

 Read the original article: 5 Reasons Why Do-it-Yourself Marketing Can Actually Hurt Your Business.

Presentation: How You Can Always Pass A Referral Reality Test

How can you always pass our referral reality test? Do you want your external referrals to really count?

There are 10 levels of referral that vary in quality according to how much involvement your referral source invests in preparing the referral. At the first level, you do 95% of the work. At the highest level, you do 5% of the work.  Here are the levels in order of quality:

  1. Name and contact info only: the bare minimum. Your card has been given to a prospect. The prospect may remember you. This is little better than a cold call. What if the prospect won’t return your calls or emails? It is a brush off. So much more could be done by your referral source, such as…any of the other 9.
    What more can be done:
  2. Literature, biography and company information: your referral source gives your literature to the prospect. You have to hope that your literature is strong enough to interest the prospect.
  3. Authorization to use name: Your referral source tells you to “mention my name”. You hope that the relationship between the prospect and referral is strong enough.
  4.  General testimonial or letter of recommendation: it shows the prospect a moderate level of trust between you and the referral source.
  5. Letter of introduction and promotion: this is the first level of referral that involves some effort on the part of your referral source. This letter would indicate a stronger relationship, and include specifics from the perspective of the referral source, about how your products/services could help the prospect. Remember: promotion is advocacy.
  6. Introductory call and promotion: from your referral source to the prospect takes more effort from your referral source, and is more effective than a letter.
  7. Arrange a meeting: your referral source puts in more effort, and moves from promoter to facilitator. (Me & Dan Nugent.)
  8. In-person introduction and promotion: your referral source commits time and energy and becomes an intermediary. This indicates a high level of trust in your product/service. Your referral source can become actively involved in selling your products/service.
  9. Assessment of need and interest: the referral source has thoroughly scoped out the prospect’s needs for your product/service, and has convinced the prospect of it. You just need to tailor your offerings to those needs.
  10. Closed deal: the sale is closed before you even meet the prospect. All you need to do is deliver your product/service and collect payment.

When we are able to get a level 9 or 10 referral, it is easier for the referral source to close the deal, because of the level of trust with the prospect. Your referral source is lending you credibility, which is not to be taken lightly. You must do an excellent job of fulfilling that referral. Keep in mind these 10 levels of referrals. Put the effort in to do those higher levels because:

  • You will be helping the businesses of your fellow BNI members, and in return will get more business;
  • You will look better in the eyes of the prospect; and
  • You’ll be guaranteed to pass the crap test every time.

The presentation above is taken from the book Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections, co-authored by Dr. Ivan Misner.


A Surprisingly Uplifting Article: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

This article is not for the faint of heart, or for those who cannot take criticism. I found it refreshing and inspiring as I review my own life and accomplishments. It also helps to explain why I lose patience with some people. Read 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person.

On Problem Solving

Had a conversation today with another small business owner. She read recently that one of the strong skills successful small business owners have is that of problem solving. Whether there are production issues, or client issues, or staff issues, or regulations, we have to be able to solve problems. That is what I do, solve problems. I thought of making it a company motto that “We solve your problems” though that is too vague. A professional hitman could use the same line.

As I watch or listen to performances of talented people, in music, dance, the arts, what goes through my mind when I think about talent is that I strive to improve things, to make them work, to find a more efficient way of doing things. “I just want it to work.” That is problem solving. When we solve problems, we improve things, we improve processes, we improve outcomes. At least we strive to.

One aspect that separates excellent employees from average employees is the ability to problem solve. Excellent employees use their skills and experience to solve problems, to deal with an issue. I prefer that over passing the problem to someone else, or procrastinating on it. Sometimes I get questioned on an issue and I want to say “Think! Think about it. Think it through. You know the answer. You don’t need me to tell you.”Even if the action turns out to be wrong, or does not have a good outcome, I try to keep in mind that the person tried, to the best of her/ability, and I work on improving the outcome.

That also brought up the conversation about our school system in which we spend twelve plus years telling our children what to do, how to do it, and what to think. Then we wonder why so many become brainless and get to the point where the highlight of their day is vegetating in front of the TV, usually with a shot of alcohol, so they do not need to think. The world has changed so much in the past two decades, how do we educate people for a world that we cannot conceive of? One of the most valuable skills will be that of problem solving. In this province our school system is failing at that.

Podcast: The Future of Retail

There is a fascinating Mitch Joel interview entitled Peeking Into The Future Of Retail With Doug Stephens. Doug is a specialist on retail, and discusses online vs. offline shopping, and the way the future is heading. He says that retail locations, bricks and mortar places will need to provide an experience, to become a destination, in order to do well. Listen to The Doug Stephens Podcast. I was so impressed with this, so thought-provoking, that I sent the link to some of our retail clients.

Another Monthly Breakfast

We had our usual staff breakfast in my office this morning. The tradition dates back to when we first moved into the building, almost eight years ago. Since we now had a full kitchen, and a very nice boardroom, our staff suggested we have a breakfast on the last Friday of the month, and that day would also be Casual Friday, a relaxation of our dress code. One or more of us makes breakfast, usually a variation of bacon and eggs. Always bacon. It is a requirement. Today our office manager made French toast and bacon, with help from our director of graphic design.

We sit around and talk, small talk, idle chatter, and business, company stuff. Today was one of those rare occasions when there was so much company talk, on projects and new products, that we went beyond our usual two hours, and talked almost until noon. It was a very productive session.

On New Business Ideas

This week one of my favourite magazines, Profit, had an article about entrepreneurs entitled, 3 Big Fat Lies About Entrepreneurs, which states that entrepreneurs do not need to be innovators, nor experts, nor young. Reading the article is coincidental timing. This week two opportunities for new businesses came on my radar. One as a result of a pending closure, another from a chance conversation about the impact of computers on a segment of the population.

Tie these in with a quote from one of my favourite speaking coaches, whose guidance allowed me to win the Golden Gavel award, Darren LaCroix, who said The only thing worse than being a late bloomer, is being a never bloomer. It is never too late.

I should take the timing of the article and the quote as a sign, and pursue these two new ideas. Neither are simple, both will take a high degree of coordination, but I appreciate a challenge. The bigger challenge will be continuing to run my current companies while trying to get these two ideas set up, and eventually run by a manager. Neither business ideas are in the website development field, so will be a change from my daily activities.

Should be fun!