While reading The Referral Engine by John Jantsch I came across an interesting statistic. It shouldn’t have been a surprise since I see it in the lives of so many small business owners, but here it is: it’s estimated that two-thirds of businesses get more than half of all their new customers by referral. That’s a big deal. Most companies are getting more than half of all their business by referral.

If that’s true you’d expect the companies are diligently working at creating the referrals since it’s so significant. I mean you are … right? Good for you if you have a detailed plan to accomplish this, but reality is most don’t. Only about 20 percent of businesses make any effort to generate referrals.

We talk about online marketing, print marketing, advertisements and so forth, but one of the biggest success drivers in most businesses is the simple referral. Referred customers are the very best because they come in predisposed to do business with you. Someone has told them how great your are. They are ready to buy.

Given the choice we’d all love to have most if not all of our business come from referrals. Nothing else converts prospects to customers quite so well.

Over the next few weeks I’ll give you some ideas on how to drive referrals in your business. In the meantime I recommend you get a copy of The Referral Engine and read it. It’s a real eye opener about one of our best marketing tools. If we just sit around and wait, hoping someone will be referred to us, we will miss so many opportunities.

Here’s some ideas you can start thinking about. Is your business referable? Want more referrals, be referable. A business has to be worthy of being referred. Look at some of the following:

  • How is your customer service?
  • Do you treat customers with respect?
  • Do you do what you say you are going to do – on time?
  • Do you say please and thank you (mom said this would be important)?
  • Is there some special about your business that gets people excited about doing business with you?
  • Is your business truly excellent?

Start thinking about what you can do to over deliver on your promises to customers. Make them thrilled to do business with you. They’ll share that wonderful experience with others getting you more customers.

If you really believe you are the best, you bring real value to your customers, you’ll begin to ask for referrals so that you can provide that same great experience to others.


by Steven Schlagel