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Author Archives: Dawn Westerberg

Referrals – The #1 Marketing Action That Will Make 2017 a Success for Your Business

Most everyone is at least thinking about their 2017 business plan. What will be the key marketing activities you will rely on to make 2017 a more profitable year? As you list these activities is there a creeping sense of déjà vu? You’ve dutifully made marketing plans in the past, but the business gets in the way of focused, committed follow through. Trust me, you are not alone.

Referral Marketing Should Be Your #1 Marketing Commitment in 2017

The key is to prioritize those activities and decide, come what may, which activity will be the priority. If only one thing gets done it will be…what? I recommend that the one thing is a commitment to developing referral relationships. What I mean by referral relationships is a proactive plan to identify, communicate with, and seek to uncover business opportunities with people who can provide you with referral business.

DIY Referral Marketing

We all love referrals.

When a prospect is referred to us, we enjoy a sort of trust transference. The prospect has a solid, satisfied relationship with the person referring us. Their thinking is along the lines of “Bob has taken good care of us, so if Bob thinks these guys will do a good job helping us with ERP software (or whatever your product and service offering is), we’ve probably found a good service provider.”

The referred prospect is already predisposed to us:  confident that we can do the job.

Like us, like everyone, the prospect’s time is valuable. There aren’t enough hours in a day. There is more to do than time to do it in. As a result, being referred can mean a fast-forward past the buyer stages of Know, Like and Trust, straight to the “Try, Buy” stages. This means a shorter sales cycle. And very likely, it means a lower cost of sales.

When we are referred, the competition doesn’t have the benefit of the trust transference. (If there is any competition.)

I am always amazed at how often being referred results in the prospect bypassing the evaluation of other service providers. I believe this occurs because of the time + trust transference effect. The person making the referral is trusted enough to substitute for due diligence and the prospect can use the time he would have spent evaluating other services providers on more business-critical activities.

You’ve probably experienced what I’ve described. Usually when I asked business owners where their closed business comes from, the answer is referrals. There may be a few deals that come from a webcast or an event they attended. There may also be the occasional deal that comes from direct mail or email marketing. But the lion’s share of closed business seems to come from referrals.

So why don’t we spend more time developing referral partners in order to increase the number of referrals we get?

Let me suggest that 2017 is the year you get serious about referral marketing. Here is a very simple 4-step plan that anyone can put in place.

  1. Identify who can refer the type of prospects that need your products and services.
  2. Pick 5 and list them in the first column of a spreadsheet. Across the top, list out the months of the year.
  3. Each month, communicate with the referral partner. The point is to stay top of mind, so that when they are talking to a prospect or customer and the prospect/customer communicates a need for your products and services – you’ll be top of mind.
  4. Look for opportunities to refer business to these 5 contacts. Nothing keeps you top of mind as effectively as helping your referral partner close business.

It’s really quite simple. But it may not be easy.

I work with business owners to implement plans like the one above. Getting started is the hardest part. Maintaining the momentum of regular communication is crucial. “I just didn’t have time this month” is the number one cause of failure. However, when business owners make the time – decide that this is the one thing they will make sure happens – the results are energizing. There are more qualified opportunities (adds to the pipeline). There is more revenue coming into the business. Typically, referral customers are happier customers – so you have more reference sources and case study candidates.

Consider this: if you could double the number of referrals received, what would it mean for your business? If you could triple the number of referrals received, how much more would it mean for your business?

A little regular attention to your referral partners can go a long way. In fact, a 2X or 3X increase is a conservative forecast were you to commit to working your referral partners. This is why, if there is only one activity that can get your full commitment, make your commitment to referrals.

Endowment Accounting Survey Should Raise Some Eyebrows

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More and more nonprofits are looking to endowments as a means to diversify their sources of funding. Endowments have long been a favorite funding tool for institutions of higher learning. Whether a nonprofit is new to endowment management or has been managing endowments for decades, a recent survey commissioned by AccuFund and conducted by Nonprofit-PROContinue Reading

Why Nonprofits Need to Invest in Fund Accounting Technology

Why Nonprofits Need to Invest in Fund Accounting Technology

When applying for grants, all nonprofits face fierce competition. A recent survey of nonprofit executives reported that a major concern among nonprofit leaders was the concurrent increase in demand for nonprofit services and decrease in available funds for services. Accelerate Grants for fund accounting are available in 2015 Simply put – fewer grants means heightenedContinue Reading

Renewable Referrals on Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

It was fun to sit down with John Jantsch and talk about referrals.  John was kind enough to have me, and co-authors Kelly Weppler and Rosie Taylor as guests on his weekly podcast. You can listen to the podcast here. How healthy is your channel of referral partners? In the big picture of lead generation,Continue Reading

Renewable Referrals now available on Amazon

The book has been published!  It’s available on amazon.com. If you’d like a better blueprint for a lucrative source of referrals than say, asking each of your customers for three names, then you’ll benefit from Renewable Referrals. I’m honored to report that John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine, The Commitment Engine, Duct Tape SalesContinue Reading

B2B Website Design 7 Tips and Warnings

For successful B2Bs, the hub of their marketing should be their website. All of your marketing efforts – inbound and outbound, direct mail and email, social media, etc. – should be driving traffic to your website. That means you website should provide a good visitor experience, should have visible calls to action, and should beContinue Reading

How to Grab the Attention of Your B2B Prospects? Relieve the Pain.

It takes about seven impressions for your brand to have any sort of mindshare with your ideal prospects.  That’s what the late Jay Conrad Levinson stated in a keynote I attended a number of years ago.  He followed up that statement with “but you have to recognize that two out of three times they’re notContinue Reading

How Can a B2B Technology Company Give Free Trials?

How Can a B2B Technology Company Give Free Trials?

The seven stages of the Marketing Hourglass are Know Like Trust Try Buy Repeat Refer.  When you sell a high-end solution, creating content or deliverables for the ‘Try’ step can be challenging. Chances are you’ve investigated a solution for your own business where there is s free version and paid versions.  The intent is simple: Continue Reading

The Secret of Successful B2B Marketing Plans

Are the best marketing plans largely comprised of online marketing?  Direct marketing?  A combination of both? Is it necessary to do SWOT analysis?  Should you spend 5% or 7% or more on your marketing?  Or is there something else? Here’s the secret: the best marketing plan is the one that gets done.  It’s the planContinue Reading

Step 7 – 10 Ways To Make Social Media Marketing Easy for B2B Sales-Driven Companies

If you’ve populated your B2B Social Media networks with the right people, you have cultivated platforms with which you can be visible to your key B2B audience.  Social Media allows you to demonstrate frequently your competitive advantage and why your ideal prospect will benefit from working with you. The key is cultivating the audience andContinue Reading