Business Strategy of the Month: Referral Marketing is Not about Who You Know…
Referral Marketing is Not about Who You Know…
It’s not who you know, that will land you a solid referral business, it’s who knows you – and what they think of you, that will make the difference. Dropping a name at a business function will not get you to where you want to be- unless the person you are referencing knows you. The old “who I know” philosophy in hopes that this will impress someone to move to the front of the line, is not going to work anymore. A successful referral business is built on relationships- meaning that the person you are counting on to propel your efforts, really knows who you are and what you are all about- personally.
Maybe you have had the opportunity to meet someone of influence- but if you saw them again, would they remember you? You want to maximize the results of these meetings- regardless of whether they were serendipitous or completely planned. You need to give people a reason to remember you in order to support your ideas, business or product.
How to turn an opportunity into a referral-
A few years ago a talented interior designer had wanted to attend the David Foster Fundraising Gala for families awaiting life-saving organ transplants. Unable to financially secure the ticket price it would appear she would remain home that evening. However, she looked for an opportunity that would propel her efforts far beyond her expectations.
She had been informed that a local Senator, Tommy Banks, was a supporter of the Arts and a good friend of David Foster- she knew this because she read the paper. She contacted Senator Banks and enquired if he was aware of any volunteer services that she may assist with for the Gala. Being a Senator of the people and responding to a request that was near and dear to his heart, Senator Banks connected the designer with the manager in charge of hiring volunteers for the event. Once the manager found out the designer had experience in designing table-scapes she was hired immediately. The volunteer job was hard work and had tight time restraints- but in the process the designer met David’s entire family and was behind the scenes- a far more memorable place to be. Her talent was used for an exceptional cause and not only did she see the concert, she was part of its success. When the event was done, the Foster family got to know her and what she could do. So when she says she knows the Foster family, she can have the confidence to follow that up with facts- and who knows where she can take this relationship in the future.
We have the opportunity every day to cultivate relationships. Too often people attempt to propel themselves off of someone else’s momentum, before they have earned the right.
There is nothing wrong with using the momentum of an endorsement, but if it is going to be effective you have to follow the steps that will make a difference!
1) Be visible- people are busy, make the first step to know you, easy- get out with the intention to be the difference
2) Be memorable- if you want to be top of mind, you need to prove you are worthy of being referred
3) Be a person of integrity- this requires action, so walk your talk.
4) Be consistent- This is your track record. If you expect to be worthy of a referral show up all the time-every time.
5) Be an expert in your field- This narrows the competitive field
6) Be willing to give before you get- shows the moral fibre you are made of.
A person referring you knows it’s their name on the line too- make sure they are proud to have passed your name on.
When someone truly knows you for these qualities, then you have earned the right to be referred.