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B2B Marketing – 4 Reasons You’re Not Getting Referrals

Could it be that you are not getting the referrals you might because you’re fuzzy when you describe what you do?

If a potential referral partner cannot get their mind around what you do and how to refer you – referrals simply won’t happen.  In a word CLARITY:  you must communicate in such a way that a potential referral partner has absolute CLARITY on what is you do and for whom.

I see four barriers to clarity.

  1. Jargon – One danger of being a highly specialized profession is the overuse of jargon that the average man and woman on the street cannot understand.  Have any loved ones in the military?  Have any friends in high tech?  I’ve got both and I am constantly interrupting to find out what the acronyms mean.  We have to lose the jargon when we’re talking with potential referral partners.  While I’m willing to interrupt and have you explain, most people won’t do that.  They will nod and mentally check out and think about what’s for dinner.
  2. Rambling – The passionate folks are often guilty of this one.  They take a deep breath and then flit from detail to detail failing to paint an overall picture while the potential referral partner tries to connect all the dots, only to give up, nod and think about what to watch on Netflix tonight.
  3. Saying too little – When asked at a conference, “What is that you do?” you default to a one word response, “Marketing” or “Engineering” or “Information Technology.”  OK, that last one was two words, but you get my point.  How can anyone get to know, like and trust you when you answer like a defendant in response to a federal prosecutor.
  4. Failing to create and rehearse your talking logo – what’s a talking logo you ask?  It’s a one sentence attention-getter that intrigues the listener enough to ask a follow-up question because they definitely want to find out more about what you do.

The talking logo is something John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) came up with and he describes it this way:

Like a traditional printed logo, a talking logo is a tool that allows you to communicate verbally the single greatest benefit of doing business with your firm.  A talking logo is a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and ideally forces the listener to want to know more.

…Consider these two examples:  “So, Bill, what do you do for a living?”  I’m a registered architect” or [Talking Logo] “I show contractors how to get paid faster.”  Now which do you think is more compelling?  If you’re a contractor you definitely want to know more about that second answer, don’t you?

Here’s the pattern for getting started creating your Talking Logo:  Action verb (I show, I teach, I help) target market (business owners, homeowners, teachers, divorced women, Fortune 500 companies) how to [solve a problem, get a result or meet a need].

My talking logo is Fall in Love with Your Business Again.  Or I might say, “I invite business owners to fall in love with their business again.

My fellow Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Dan Kraus’ talking logo is “we help small businesses not waste money on marketing.”

While talking logos are very brief – they are very hard to create.  It takes focus and careful thought.  It also requires deciding what not to say.

But if you manage to craft a meaningful talking logo and practice clearly articulating why, how, and what you do in plain simple language – you will more easily find enthusiastic referral partners.

You might also enjoy reading B2B Marketing – Building Referral Alliances

Are there any other barriers to building solid referral partners?  Please share your ideas in the comments section.

2 Responses to B2B Marketing – 4 Reasons You’re Not Getting Referrals

  1. Joy Levin says:

    Dawn, Thanks for the helpful post. I would add a fifth reason – not demonstrating value to potential partners in terms of how their problems can be solved. Thanks again, Joy Levin

  2. Joanne Black says:

    Hi Dawn:

    Referrals rock! I agree that we must have clarity about what we do. Even more critical is the ability to articulate the business impact of what we do.

    Clients really don’t care about us. They just care about what we do for them.

    Thanks for spreading the referral message!

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