- Setup automated system to get you referrals
- Ask, but only from the right people, at the right times
- It’s possible for all your clients to self-duplicate more than 100% of the time, which is how businesses “go viral”
First, this report is “standing on the shoulders of giants”. It encompasses and distills down literally decades of research and insights from a dozen books and melds it all into one actionable system.
PART 1: You have a business that delivers real value, and the messaging (value proposition) is crystal clear. Skip this if you do.
It’s not enough to be a realtor with a dog. We don’t care. I need to know why you’ll get me more money for my house, or help me find my dream home for less money because of your mad negotiating skills and off-market listings.
All in about 5 seconds.
Tall order? Now you know why most small businesses are average.
PART 2: Pricing. If you’re the low-price leader, stop it.
As a teenager I learned selling vacuums that someone who paid $2k would polish it, read the manual, and take loving care of it, then refer their friends. The same exact vacuum sold for $200 would increase refunds, warranty maintenance because they didn’t bother to empty the bag, and other hassles.
Continually fire your bottom 10% of clients to make room for better ones.
Lowest pricing is also often a sign of a critical problem: not illustrating your value proposition clearly enough. Note if you sell a true commodity – generic potato chips, then ok, I get it – you thrive on tiny margins. Most small businesses claim to differentiate on service.
Anyway, I’ll assume you have that covered and are ready to grow, but if the above is not solid, you won’t. We can strap wings and rocket engines on a car, and given enough lift and thrust it’ll fly, but mostly it’s going to waste energy. You’re better off tweaking your core business messaging so that you’re *ready* to grow.
It isn’t your mom and BFF you need to sell – it’s that friend of a friend of a friend who you need to win to expand your business, and for that to happen, you need real value, clearly communicated. Skipping this step won’t work.
But I digress. Let’s dive in:
First, some common mistakes – not just 1, but 10:
- Not asking. Seriously. People feel bad about asking. I get it. Either get over it, OR design an automated system that does the asking for you.
- Asking only when a transaction is done. Clients are 72% more likely to refer you *during* a transaction than after. [note: this was based on real estate and mortgage data, which has an average 7 year itch-cycle (time between transactions) and will vary by industry – but while people are active and doing business with you they are a lot more likely to think of you because it requires repeated impressions
- Not using “framing”: “Which one of your co-workers is someone we could help?” is more powerful (effective and specific) than “have anyone you can refer to us?”
Ok, the above looks a bit complex but let’s dive into it. This system has helped me sell tens of millions of dollars for $100k+ consulting clients and now we’ve systematized it.
Everything starts with customer satisfaction survey software.
If the client’s not happy, it’s game over for the whole right side green area. At that point, you go into damage control (red left side), and investigation (center blue area).
Note there are a dozen ways (times) to start the customer satisfaction survey – just a few are…
- When the deal is done, of course
- Any customer service request (common with large companies)
- year-end for all previous clients
- all active clients, as “monthly scorekeeping”
- reviews of a specific worker i.e. evaluating an assistant
- after any type of transaction, installation, etc.
Also, there are a few styles, such as
- 0-10, often used with “How likely would you be to tell a friend about us?”
- 5-stars – common on Yelp, etc.
- “Have we earned your referrals?” Yes/No – simple and direct
- Are you happy with X? Yes/No/Meh (or maybe or sort of)
We’ve built a system (WordPress Plugin + SwiftCloud software) that automates this entire map, but as promised, you could build this on your own.