• Apr 10, 2019

This article will conclude our series on Rethinking Referrals. Thus far, we have discussed the different “problems” and “negatives” with relying on referrals as your main business plan (click here). We discussed the limitations (click here), the powerlessness (click here), and the entitlement (click here) it can breed. 

So, how should referrals be viewed, if not as a business plan? Referrals should be viewed as bonuses. They should be viewed as “extras” and “icing on the cake.” If you have been relying predominantly on referrals as your business plan and realize you need to change this mentality, you are probably asking yourself what you need to change and how you need to change it. 

The answer lies in targeted marketing. This can be done in many different ways, but the bottom line is that it begins with you having a step by step process. We started our business, have grown our business, and have maintained our business through targeted marketing campaigns. What exactly do I mean, you ask? 

First, you must identify your target customer or client. This has to do with figuring out who is “qualified” to do business with you. Depending upon your service, this might be very broad or it may be limited. In my case, one of our ideal client qualifications means that we only focus on businesses. We don’t deal with individual consumers. We have several other criteria we go by, but it isn’t within the scope of this article to go into detail on that. The bottom line is that you must first know who your target is (as far as qualifications are concerned). 

Second, you must find out how to get information about your ideal customer or client. Your business might provide you with names and numbers. Or, you might have to do the research yourself. We personally call businesses in which we are interested and I ask who the marketing manager is. Don’t waste your time pitching your product or service to someone who has no say in the matter. Make sure you’re asking for the right person and you are collecting the correct information. 

Third, once you know your ideal client and have their information, you must now find a way to get in front of them or get their attention and see if they are interested. This is where promotional products dominate the marketing industry. We never just call and ask for the sale or for a meeting. We first call just to get the name of the person we are interested in and then we send them a “gift campaign.” If you are not sure what this is, then we need to talk because it has been our secret sauce and we gladly share it with our clients. 

Fourth, once you have made contact, you then follow-up with them. We have a three-step follow-up process. This allows us to have multiple attempts to follow-up while also giving us a gauge as to when to move on if we never get a response. 

Fifth, evaluate and repeat. On average, we do this with 10 different businesses a week. 

While the above is only a summarization of what we do, it helps you to understand how marketing is a process. It isn’t a shot in the dark or just wondering if you will one day meet the right person. Well, to some people it may be, but it isn’t if you want to be successful and maintain consistency. 

Many do not realize that we offer free training to our clients. We will help you put together a plan utilizing promotional products that will put you way ahead of your competition, who is probably still hoping that having a Facebook account and website will automatically bring them business. If you’re interested in taking your marketing seriously, then let’s chat. 

- Kevin Pendergrass


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