humans we need five necessities to survive. Oxygen; water; food; shelter and
sleep. From a physiological point of view, without these items we will die. From
a psychological point of view, there are good arguments that we also need sex
and a sense of belonging to thrive rather than just survive.
is the psychological aspect that I want to focus on today. Disappointingly, not
the sex aspect but rather the idea that, for our mental health, we need to feel
that we belong in a group to feel at one with the world. There are many studies
that have shown that people will unintentionally mirror another person’s
accent; gestures; body position etc. to seem less threatening and to fit in
all might sound a little too esoteric for a tech reseller column but good
resellers the world over are using this information every day to improve their
business bottom lines.
am not talking about salespeople trying to copy accents but the power of the
me pause here for a moment and tell you that I am not about to launch into some
lecture about asking for referrals or having referral promotions that reward
your customers for referring their friends to your business. Organisations that
use these tactics inevitably have a hard time keeping their salespeople on
target and the referrals have a certain feeling of being fake – only used for a
person to receive a reward by making a recommendation. When I was still at
school I had a friend (I actually had more than one but this one in particular)
and his Dad made me part of his referral program. He owned a car dealership and
for each lead I sent his way that resulted in a sale I was paid fifty bucks.
For a kid at school – already running a little business – that was a lot of
money so I used to tell everyone to go and buy their cars there. I had no idea
if the dealership was any good or even if the brand was great – but I was keen
to get my hands on fifty dollars. As it turned out, the brand of cars they
stocked were apparently not the greatest and the dealership was shut down a few
years after I left school so my recommendations to people were not really based
on any great knowledge. They were referrals with no substance.
referral I am talking about is the true referral. A client is so impressed with
what you have done for them that they want to boast to all of their friends and
business associates about the great service they have received. They are not
expecting any financial reward. They are not driven to refer your business for
financial gain. These referrals are the bread and butter of all great
businesses and bolster the bottom line in two ways. They don’t cost anything
and they increase sales. Zero increase in expenditure and additional income
sounds like a great way to drive profits – so how do you get in on the act?
Do nothing. Actually do a lot but do a lot of what you already should be doing.
Offer exceptional service. Under-promise and over-deliver. Deliver solutions
don’t sell products. Remember that profit is something that happens while you
are solving problems for clients. As Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well
that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” He was talking
about movies of course but the equivalent quote would be to do what you do so well
that your clients want to boast to their friends about the experience they had.
it is just me getting old or maybe it is real but I find that people in general
are more time-poor than ever before. Part of the attraction of the referral is
that it saves a person time. When friends are talking and one says they need to
buy a new widget, if a trusted friend says they just had a great experience
buying a widget from your business, it saves that person all the research time
they would have otherwise dedicated to finding a good reseller. And when they
call your business and they say that another client recommended them, they
instantly feel part of the family. It is part of that sense of belonging or
bonding that humans require.
you still aren’t convinced referrals are good for your business, let me throw a
few stats your way. International surveys show that 92 per cent of people
trusted referrals from people they knew. It makes sense. If my friend tells me
they ate at a restaurant and the food was great, that is enough for me to be
convinced the food is great. If you are after new business (it seems like a
good idea) then think about this one. 65 per cent of new business comes from
referrals. You may not even be aware of the referrals that you are receiving.
For just one week, try asking new clients what brought them to you. The
majority won’t be from that incredibly expensive social media campaign or that
glitzy new video that you were charged exorbitant fees for. The majority will
be from referrals. The life time value of a new referral client is 16 per cent
higher than a client achieved via other means. I could go on quoting statistics
(actually that is all I have at the moment) but you don’t need stats to know
the truth in what I am saying. The power of the referral is incredible. If you
want to keep that new business flowing in, work out creative ways to get your
clients to keep talking about your business and what you have done for them.
Maybe implement a procedure to follow up with a client a few weeks after
delivering a solution to make sure everything is still working well. Maybe send
them a message on their birthday. There are lots of ways to subtly remind them
about the great service they received – which means they will keep talking
about the great service they received.
you do, never underestimate the power of the referral. Your business growth
depends on it. And think about the good you are doing for your clients by
helping them feel that sense of belonging!