Harness the Power of Referrals

If you’re a small business owner, you’re no stranger to hard work, learning curves, and passion. However, most owners don’t capitalize on their most powerful asset: referrals, and a solid system. These are the people that can make or break your business.

Referrals are your networking system. It’s a group of friends, happy customers, and allies that are willing to vet you to clients. Other than that, it’s a recommendation display that shows a customer you’re worth investing their time and money into.

It seems simple enough, but most companies don’t implement this properly. Skip to the front of the line with our tips.

referral system shown as a light bulb with thought bubbles
It all begins with you. Take your company to the next level with an expanded network.

1. Make a Promise

Referrals mean nothing if you can’t deliver. The first and most basic step is to prove your worth. This means being amazing at your job.

Every business will be different, so make sure you’re delivering your best every day. Stay on top of market trends, communicate effectively, and be honest. With these tenets, you will build a reputation of integrity, and that in itself will speak volumes.

Bottom line: promise your referrals excellence.

2. Tailor Your Referrals

Doing good work is essential, but having the right people in your network can channel your reputation to the right audiences. You don’t want to be fishing in the wrong pond, so to speak. You will not reel in any prospects.

Use our incredible modern technology to build your network. Before you reach out, check their profiles and confirm you want these people in your network This includes coworkers, family, and academic colleagues.

After finding them, hand them exactly what you want to be referred. This means taking snapshots, documents, and other representations of your work, refining it to look the best, and then giving it to your referrers. If they know what to say to best highlight your product or service, then you can rest assured the delivery to prospective clients will go smoothly.

game pieces of every color making up a referral system
Combining all these steps together will not only grow your business, but it’ll also grow your friendships.

Important note: make sure to add why you are unique in the business. Your profile’s personal spin is the easiest way to connect with people.

For example, if you mention you’re a foodie in your Twitter profile, perhaps you can make a connection with a work prospect through your shared interest. A recipe exchange can be what stands out because you not only make a sale, you make a friend.

3. Be Part of the Process

Like anything, marketing is all about the give and take. If you want people to refer you, be willing to refer them back.

This way, you are building a trusted network, an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” system. It’s not just about making as many sales as possible but creating a series of trusting relationships (or building friendships) so that everyone’s needs are met. This involves being picky with whom you share your business with, where you ask for referrals, and then keeping your network up to date.

Make sure to show gratitude when you get successful work from your referral system. Follow-up with people that give you a hand by sending thank-you notes or thoughtful gifts.

One last note is to set your referral system in a measurable document. Either keep a notebook or use an app to track which referrals are giving value. If something isn’t working out as well as you hoped, don’t be afraid to trim your network down. After all, these techniques won’t work as well if you aren’t doing your part to maintain.

How to Stay on Top of the Market

Commerce (and the market system) is like hunting. You need to stay sharp: know the right places, have the right mindset, and keep your skills up to date. If you want to be top dog, you must bring the right amount of effort. Nobody got to the top by playing it safe.

That being said, you can work smarter instead of harder if you know what to improve. We’ve gathered the best, and trimmed them down to be easily understood.

Research

A newsfeed stocked with helpful articles will keep you up to date. This involves your email list too. Sign up for newsletters and follow top industry professionals to stay sharp and learn new tricks. It may take a bit to curate this list, but that’s one of the beauties of research, you can choose what helps and what doesn’t.

market researcher looking at a full desk with computer
Climbing to the top will take hard work and the ability to learn from your mistakes. Failure is a teacher.

If a blog or website isn’t helping you, cut it loose. Be ruthless in your search for accurate, helpful information. You only have so much attention span in a day, so don’t waste it on fluff when you can spend it improving yourself.

Keywords and search tags are your friends. Think long and hard about relevant topics to your business. For example, a small business owner selling skincare would need to search for skincare trends, best skincare, and weird skincare routines. Use Google trends to find upcoming rivals and hashtags on social media for more information.

If all else fails, go back to school if you have to! A solid understanding of the market is essential to dominating it.

Teamwork/Networking

Together, we make up more than the sum of our parts. This means that we can achieve more working as a team than we could alone. Great marketing is not excluded from this tactic.

If you’re already part of a team, talk with your coworkers and involve them with your tasks. If your business does well, it reflects well on the entire team. Use this as a way to involve everyone.

Collaborating with others is the quickest way to refine ideas. This means doing your part and listening for what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve assigned tasks to others in your team, prioritize the feedback they give. This will help your business grow when you understand what works and what doesn’t.

We live in an interdependent society, which means at some point, we have to deal with other people to survive. Learning to do this well can only help your business. Join a volunteer group, you never know who you’ll meet, or the lesson you could learn.

Engagement

Studies show that people make more purchases with their emotional mind than their rational one. For sales to increase, you must appeal to this “reptile mind.”. So many companies are available selling similar products. With market oversaturation, it makes sense that people will choose to buy from companies that align with their own ideals.

employee using a computer to engage the market
Use the tools we have! Social media is a great way to engage with your community.

Engagements like these come on different fronts. On the lightest level, it’s how you present yourself and your business. This can be your logo, slogan, and the language on your website. Think of your target audience and what they would want to see.

On the other hand, this also means engaging with your rivals. This doesn’t mean to start an altercation with them, simply know who they are and what they’re doing. By studying your rival businesses, you can see what works for them and appropriate their own tactics to increase your marketability.

Social Media

Without a doubt, not using social media is your biggest mistake.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and all the other giants out there are capturing people’s attention on a monumental scale. Customers use social media every day, if not all day, and most of them are looking for products to buy. If your business seems like a friendly neighbor, then you have already won a major battle. People trust others in their community.

This pairs with engagement. From your laptop, tablet, or mobile device, several platforms exist to help with online outreach. You can post updates about your business, sales, news, and relevant content to display an ideal that attracts customers.

People love stories, and social media brings that love to the forefront. Your company’s story can unfold in front of your prospective customers, and they can engage, merging their story with yours.

These tactics must be tailored to fit each organization. One may work better than the other, and some may not work at all. You must try each one to understand how it works with your business and the market. However, once you get them streamlined, these strategies will take your sales to the next level.

2 Simple Tactics to Build a Solid Customer Relationship

As a freelancer, I have learned over time that the customer connection is your strongest selling point. Therefore, a great relationship can take your career to the next level. For agents, your needs are the same as my own: you want strong, solid customer relationships that bring you sales time after time.

But that’s the issue. It’s hard to cultivate these relationships if you’re coming from the wrong standpoint. Throw away outdated sales tactics like “not taking no for an answer.” From here on out, engagement is your cornerstone.

Engagement Tactic: Communication

Take a solid partnership for instance. You won’t have a successful marriage if you don’t communicate with one another (or at least make it happily). Like any relationship, the one with your customer needs to come from a place of genuine connection.

You can build this connection through email outreach, phone calls, and even texting. Studies show that people connect faster online than ever. So, utilize the technology available to reach out to a wider audience.

a customer relationship built with a woman holding a credit card
It’s easy to convert someone to a sale! Just remember that they’re buying with their heart, not their head.

This emotional attachment will keep your connection strong from typing to talking. When you chat with someone, you don’t just want to go on and on about your business. That’s boring. Engage the customer on their level by listening to them, and responding to their needs.

For example, if you’re building a customer relationship, obviously your sales pitch is going to be a topic at some point. The first point in communication is listening to them, show them you’re human too. This can be as simple as talking about a shared hobby sport, or even volunteer work.

Once you get a customer laughing or sharing a story, you collect on the most precious coin of all: emotion. Engaging in the emotional pull will almost guarantee you a sale.

Engagement Tactic: Reaction

Why do people like playing difficult games? Why did you get into sales in the first place? You wanted a reaction.

People like to be in competition because they get something back. It’s why we play sports, video games, and enter contests. The same tactic can be used in your relationships.

Don’t force your connections into one-sided conversations. You need to ask questions that require more than yes or no answers, then listen (take notes if you have to) and react. People want feedback to their own problems, just make sure your feedback is positive.

Remember, they’re answering the phone, or coming to you with a problem. You have their solution, but it can’t be dressed as a sales pitch. That’s one of the quickest way to lose someone, a fatal mistake. It doesn’t say “hello, I want to help you.” It says, “Give me your money. You’re a number to me.”

That’s the last thing anyone wants, including you.

building a customer relationship through a phone call
Use what you’ve learned! Take the time on your phone calls to connect with someone, even mentioning small human things (like a holiday) can help.

So, to wrap up, engagement is what you’re going for. Connect to someone on a personal level, and find out exactly what problems they’re having. You already have their solution; you just need to show them that you care.

Then, react to them. Ask for feedback on how you handled their case. Show gratitude. Give them a bonus gift. Really, anything can be done here to reinforce the fact that you’re offering a service, not a price tag.

Use these simple tactics for a customer relationship, and watch your sales shoot through the ceiling.

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