If you do business right and you help people, eventually someone is going to make the statement, “If there’s anything I can do to help you with your business, let me know.”
Now the funny part: Your response was probably, “Well, thanks, I’ll let you know.” Most business professionals could use the help, but don’t have a plan for the help that could really make a difference in the bottom line.
Referral marketing is rooted in a systematic approach to getting the right people to help you in the right way. Let’s imagine that the person asking to help is Tom. Here are 10 examples of how Tom could help you promote your business:
1. Have Tom display or distribute brochures, flyers or promotional materials at his place of business. This will increase your visibility outside of your office. And if the business displaying the material is carefully selected as a noncompeting firm with the same customers, the other business also has the benefit of continuing to help its customers.
2. Tom could make an announcement for you. Increase your visibility at events that you might not attend by asking the person willing to help to announce an upcoming sale, event or other interesting information at the events they attend.
3. Are there events to which Tom could invite you? Even better than having Tom announce your events is getting an invitation from him to attend events you didn’t know about. Breaking out of your routine is a great way to generate new business.
4. Have Tom endorse your products or services. Help Tom realize the best thing can he can do is talk to others about what he has gained by using your product or service, endorsing you in casual conversations will help others feel confidence in using your products or services.
5. Would Tom nominate you for recognition or awards? Business professionals and community members often are recognized for outstanding service. Asking Tom to put your name in the hat is like asking for him to vote for you if you were running for office. Tom might not understand how important and how much effect that vote of confidence would be for your business until you tell him.
6. Ask Tom to initiate contact with referrals. If you’re asking for referrals from Tom after he’s had a successful transaction with you, hats off to you for understanding that Tom is a valuable source of additional business. Now, take it one step further and ask Tom to contact those referrals for you and make it a warm connection rather than a cold call with a name drop.
7. Is there a meeting Tom could arrange for you? Right in line with asking Tom to call on referrals first is asking him to arrange a meeting. Tom is an integral part of bridging the gap because he has the existing relationship and the business relationship will flourish faster with his help.
8. Can Tom get your name in print? Often you’ll find a person that offers help who has connections with local media or such other publications as an association newsletter. Ask Tom to showcase your business. The right audience could completely change your business.
9. Connect with Tom on social networks. Remember, the most powerful business connections made on social networks are with whom you already have a relationship. Getting into the news feeds of others can really capitalize on the word of mouth marketing you’re already doing. When Tom comments he’s endorsing you, he’s improving your reputation in his community of friends. Now that’s power!
10. Form a strategic alliance with Tom. This is by far the most powerful thing to do. A strategic alliance is best accomplished if Tom sees the same customers as you, but doesn’t compete with you. A strategic alliance has the greatest potential of becoming something that helps both businesses over the long run.
Try these 10 ideas and see if they work for you. Take a few minutes and I bet you can come up with some great ideas on your own that will work in your business.