“The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word-of-mouth referrals are what drive business today,” John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, says in his new book, The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself. “Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals. That’s why so many businesses can grow and thrive by tapping this business-building strategy alone.”
The Referral Engine encourages you to take an objective look at your business and reevaluate your marketing strategy as well as your business model. Get ready to “craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors and colleagues.”
When we buy products or services, we are really buying experiences. Yes, referrals start with the quality of your professional knowledge, skills, services and products. However, as Jantsch explains in The Referral Engine, the “first step in the design of your referral system is to unearth the simple remarkable difference that is your chief competitive advantage. … It’s not enough to be an accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15 or your money back. If you want people to talk, you’ve got to be the accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15, then gets your oil changed at the car wash next door while you discuss your return in his office.” And that’s just the beginning.
If you need help developing a “core talkable difference” and other innovations for your start-up or mature business, The Referral Engine presents how-to steps and is loaded with resources and examples to identify your potential and create new strategies and endless referrals.
What does your business do and what does it mean to your customers? Who are your ideal customers? What is your added and “extreme” value? How do you and your staff engage customers in a memorable way that leads to word-of-mouth referrals? Why do or should they choose you over a competitor? Do you know which referral system would work best for your company?
“In preparation for writing this book,” Jantsch says, “I conducted an informal survey of several thousand small business owners. Unsurprisingly, I found that 63.4 percent felt that over half their business came by way of referrals. “But,” he notes, “of that same group, 79.9 percent readily admitted that they had no system of any kind to generate referrals.”
Is it time for a new approach?
“If you love to cold call and dig spending money on advertising, then The Referral Engine is not for you,” David Meerman Scott says in praise of Jantsch’s book. However, if you appreciate the value and potential of referrals, then, as Seth Godin notes, “This book will pay for itself in one day.”