More Meaningful Marketing, Part 4

Let's expand on customer marketing to include referral generation from customers and prospects both. There is no better source of business except repeat business than referral business. It comes to you with a certain amount of trust already built in from the person who refers them and they are also much more likely to buy and continue buying. Getting good referrals then, would be a worthy and profitable objective.

People that are happy doing business with you are likely to tell their friends and associates and some of them may come in or call as a result of that. I will call that a casual referral. Those are wonderful, but you can't really count on them. Taking a more deliberate approach is a much more worthwhile activity.

There's a lot of ways to seek referrals deliberately. There really isn't a right or a wrong way, just different ways. One, is you could just ask for them. A good time to do that is at the point of delivery, or within a few short weeks of delivery. The better the experience with you and your product and company, the better the chance of getting referrals. Sometimes, they will even call the prospect for you and put you together.

Another way is to offer something to encourage referrals. Thousands of businesses do this all the time and it pays dividends. Some will offer the prospect a special deal and give the referring person a gift as well. You can do this effectively through your email newsletter discussed yesterday.

There are even people who don't buy from you but like you and they will send business your way, so in order to be more deliberate here, keep all the prospects you talk to in your database as well and send them offers very much as you would to customers.

Another great way is to send business to them. Many of the people you will be dealing with are business people, so it is a natural to create good will through exchange of prospects. I know one salesman who made 9 sales from one prospect's referrals, but never sold that person a vehicle. I think that is fascinating! Constantly look for new and better ways of obtaining referrals.

So far, we are marketing to specific targets through our database, then we are taking charge of our customer database, and part of doing that is paying attention to the power of the referral. If these were all you did, it would be a most powerful combination of activities and by far out produce other activities. It is deliberate and focused. You can move specific inventory deliberately. You can create new customers deliberately. You're building an empire!

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