When’s the last time you recommended toilet roll?
I’m guessing never. Cos that’s weird and would involve you talking about your bum. Plus toilet rolls are boring and they all do the same job in the same way.
So, if not toilet rolls then what do you recommend?
The painter who tidied away at the end of each day? The web designer whose website is just so spot on that you’ll want it for yourself? The dress designer who creates one-offs for women with quiffs, large hips and a penchant for vintage? (Or is that just me?)
We humans love to refer people. It makes us feel good, it makes us feel in the know and it gives us a wee ego boost.
And for us business owners, getting a referral is a big win. Referred customers are more loyal and spend more, up to 25% more*. Giving other humans a reason to refer us is the BEST FORM OF MARKETING IN THE WORLD. EVER. Not only is it the best, but it’s free.
So, it’s free and makes everyone feel good, and promises great returns. What are you doing about it?
Question: if I had to refer you, what would I say?
(Please don’t mention price, speed of service, or the business has been operating for blah blah years – no one gives a hoot about these things because everyone is talking about these things)
You’ve gotta give me something that we humans (with hearts, feelings, and egos) care about. You gotta get specific with it! And that means taking some time to look outside what you do and start to understand how you make people feel.
Referral marketing isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s not science at all, it’s organic and artful and human. And it’s exactly like any other form of marketing – online, offline – you just need a clear, memorable, sticky message based on what you do that your customers love.
Let me tell you a story
A few years ago I was at a conference sitting next to a woman who had a toilet roll in front of her. Weird.
I got talking to her and naturally asked what she did and why the heck she had a toilet roll.
“I’m a writer. I help rebellious women entrepreneurs find their voice and learn how to use it, so they can have success any damn way they want!”
Woah! I’m hooked! (Obviously, because I considered myself a rebellious entrepreneur who wanted to be successful based on my definition)
And the toilet roll? I asked. “Well, too many businesses are like this toilet roll: plain, dull, commoditised, standardised, and cheap. This is what I’m battling; helping my clients to be less toilet roll”
Be less toilet roll. Talk about a sticky message!
Obvs, I liked this woman straight away. And even though I’ve not worked with her (yet) I have referred her to at least 4 different bad-ass business women I know….just on the basis of her pitch and her toilet roll. I have no idea how good she is at her job, although I suspect she’s bloody fantastic.
So, do you see what I mean?
Toilet roll lady told me nothing about the systems she uses or how many clients she’s worked with, but in one minute she told me everything I needed to know to make me want to know more.
I’m not suggesting you carry around a prop btw. I am suggesting that you get your message so clear and so memorable that people are compelled to stop, take notice and file you away in their mental rolodex.
Want to know how to do this?
It’s three simple steps:
Getting clear on what you do, who you do it for, and what success looks like for them.
Who: My toilet roll friend was all for bold, spirited women.
What: She gave them the confidence and courage to share their messages and opinions
Success: So they could build successful careers on their own terms.
Have a go.
Now, I’m guessing most of you know what you do and hopefully who you serve (btw – you are not for everyone, pick someone…please!)
But, you may not be so clear on the success part, what it is your customer’s experience and feel after working with you. If you need some inspiration have a gander at your testimonials, references or social comments; it’s all in there – what you do that makes people feel good, do good, be good. Just pan for the gold.
Write down a few options, don’t overthink it, and just try it out on friends, strangers, your kids. If they guffaw and take the p*ss, ditch that one!