Referrals – two important questions

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Cartoon by Tom Fishburne at Brand Camp

It was short, succinct, 10 question survey; each question followed by a 1 – 10 rating scale. The survey participants were all seasoned business professionals and business owners. The theme of the survey was referrals or intentional “word of mouth” endorsements recommending another business. In a perfect world a rating of all 10’s would have been the desired outcome.

But we all know perfect 10’s are hard to come by and this survey was no different. In reviewing the results, the two most notable numbers the survey produced were 9.4 and 5.6. Of the 10 questions on the survey, those two numbers represent the highest and lowest of the combined total averages of each question. The averages for the other questions were fairly evenly spaced between these high and low anchors.

The next logical step was to take a closer look at the two questions that generated the survey’s most and least desirable averages. What survey question scored more 10’s than any other and which question struggled to score ratings higher than a 6? Was there a connection? Did one relate to the other? Could improving one help benefit the other?

The 2 Questions with the highest and lowest averages…

     How important are quality referrals to your business?     –   9.4

     The extent you feel people can easily refer you?     –   5.6

The Interpretation…

The survey participants were not confident others could easily give quality referrals and recommendation about their business, but they overwhelmingly acknowledge the importance of getting quality referrals and recommendations as an important marketing strategy for their business.

Are you seeing an opportunity yet?

It should be noted, this survey spanned a limited demographic of business owners and industries but the range was broad enough we can discern a useful message from the results.

A Two Step Solution…

First, others need to Know, Like and most importantly Trust you and your company.

  • Do you operate your business with integrity?
  • If your products are tangible, are your customers raving fans about them?

Second, make sure your “Trust” list can confidently recommend you and your business. YOU also need to make it easy for them to recommend your business.

  • This is important for any business; it is critical when you sell something that isn’t tangible.
  • Have you ever asked someone on your “Trust” list to explain what you or your business sells? It is a great way to find out what they would say to someone else.
  • Recommend others, by recommending others they are more likely to recommend you.

Anytime someone endorses, refers, or recommends you, your product, or your company there is little any other advertising media can do to compete with that. So make sure you are doing your part to make it easy for others who already believe in you to tell others about you and your business.  Some quick ideas:

  • Use social media sharing buttons on your blog and website
  • Send out consistent, great email newsletters that add a lot of value and can easily be forwarded
  • Hold value added events that your customers / clients can attend and invite others to.

What about your situation?  if you are ever asked to rate yourself “The extent you feel people can easily refer you?” Would your rating will be closer to 10 than 5.6?  If you’re on the low end of that scale, what are you going to do about it?

Please share your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage    Kansas City Business Coach

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