- The two most common types of referrals
- Why people REALLY refer (it’s not what you think)
- How to make referrals happen
- PLUS: Dean and Joe share their best referral strategies
Dean: Hey, everybody. It’s Dean Jackson.
Joe: And Joe Polish.
Dean: And Joe Polish, as always.
Joe: See how quickly I said that?
Dean: I did. I like that. You know what I think we should talk about today?
Joe: I haven’t the slightest idea. Why don’t you tell me?
Dean: I think we should talk about referrals.
Joe: That sounds good. I’m kind of like a magician here. I’ll just pull into my referral hat and pull out a referral rabbit.
Dean: We spend so much time talking about the before unit. Most people, when they think about marketing, what they really think about is all the before unit things. They think about the ads and they think about campaigns and postcards and lead generation, and all that stuff. That’s what they think of when they think of marketing. Wouldn’t you say?
Joe: I would say so.
Dean: When we look at things the way we’ve been talking about this concept of the before unit, the during unit and the after unit, and of course the after unit being nurturing lifetime relationships with the people who know you, like you and trust you. The people who’ve done business with you in the past, and the people who you would hope would do business with you again, and the people who you would hope would refer you to their friends and their family and the people that they know.
Joe: Kind of like the referability of I Love Marketing has gotten pretty good, because I run into people and read comments, “I’m telling other people about it.” I hear that all the time. With the Internet and with social networking, and everything, it makes it easy for people to do that. But there’s a whole sort of process – many different process – that one could employ, utilize, whatever you want to call it, in order to get people to want to tell others about you.
Dean: Yeah. And you know why I think that they don’t think about referrals and they don’t think about the after unit as a marketing opportunity is probably because they think that referrals are just something that they can’t really control. They think that referrals are something that happens spontaneously. So, you do your best, and you hope that people will refer people to you, but they don’t think about it as something that they can actually predict and control and have some influence on.
Joe: You know why that is, though?
Joe: Because those people are dumb-asses. I’m totally kidding. So, if there’s one of our listeners that I just offended, lighten up a little. I’m making a joke here, doing a little I Love Marketing call, having some jokes on the side. Nothing too weird about that.
Dean: Oh, man. The other thing is that a lot of people don’t think that referrals really apply to their business as much.
Joe: We’ll soon dismiss that sort of nonsense, if anyone’s thinking that. I’m sorry for being interruptive, but that’s kind of how my brain is wired. I think I’m genetically engineered to interrupt people, just like you can engineer referrals. It doesn’t just sort of happen. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of generating business, and it’s great business because when you have a great client that tells someone about you, they’ve just done your marketing for you, in advance. We’ve defined, on different calls, marketing is selling in advance. And a referral is selling in advance.
A lot of people associate referrals not as marketing, because it’s not spending money on advertising, it’s not coming up with a headline, it’s not writing a sales letter. However, one of my favorite definitions of marketing, having interviewed some of the top marketers in the world, I’ve been doing Genius Network interviews for over 16 years, I think, since my very first interview. And one of my favorite ones, I can’t even remember who it was, it might have been John Carlton or Gary Halbert or Dan Kennedy or someone. Years ago, I asked, “What’s your definition of marketing?” They said, “The quickest path to the sale.” If a referral can be the quickest path to the sale, it’s marketing.
Dean: Yeah, exactly. I still look at referrals as lead generation. I still think marketing to the people who know you, like you and trust you in a way that they refer people, I look at it as lead generation that those leads are just getting escorted right to the front of the line. Because they don’t need to necessarily go through the whole warming up process, and everything that a cold lead would have to go through.
Joe: I’m interrupting you again. Just like a date. If you want to go out and try to ask random people out cold, versus have a friend of yours who knows, likes you and trusts you say to another person that knows, likes and trusts that person, “Hey, I’ve got this great person you should meet. You have a lot in common,” or “you don’t,” or whatever, they’ve referred you. I bet you half the people that are listening right now, that are in relationships, married or not, or past relationships, have literally met their significant other or their partner or husband and wife through a referral.
Dean: Uh-huh. You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right.
Joe: How did you meet your wife?
Dean: That’s another story. I’ll tell you how I met my wife. But I ran into her at a museum.
Joe: So, it wasn’t a referral.
Dean: No, it wasn’t a referral. It was a cold call.
Joe: There you go. That’s why they should listen to all of our other marketing techniques, because you can’t always rely on referrals. You want to have a lot of tools in your toolbox, and referral marketing is one of them. Hey, if there was only one marketing technique, we would have ended on episode one. Right?
Dean: That’s right.
Joe: And it wouldn’t have been a free broadcast, because we wouldn’t have people continuing to listen to us. It was that one secret. How many times have you heard, “If there was just one thing, there’d be like one self-help book.” Anyway, I digress. Let’s go back to wherever you were before I interrupted you.
Dean: You know that I’ve been very passionate about referrals, and I’ve studied – a lot – the psychology of referrals. I’ve studied a lot about how they actually happen and how you can make them happen. I’m going to talk about it. I’m going to share some of the stuff that I’ve observed and learned and applied to the real estate world, and then we’ll talk about how we can apply that to other businesses. But here’s what I’ve observed. We used to do big real estate seminars, and we’d have 500, 600, 700 people in a room. And at one point in the room, what I would do when we started talking about referrals, is I’d set the stage by asking 10 people to stand up and share the story of the last person that was referred to them. Everybody gets referrals. And I’d encourage everybody listening, right now, to think about the last time that somebody referred you. Here’s what I’ve found.
I was listening as they were telling the stories, and the stories typically fell in 2 categories. They fell into a category that sounded like this. “Who was the person that was referred to you?” “Well, it was Bob. And Bob called me up and said, “My friend Joe told me that you could help me sell my house.” That story, or a version of that story, was what happened 80% of the time, when I heard them tell that story. The other 20% of the time, what would happen is they would say, “I was referred to John, and my client, Joe, called me up and said, “Hey, my friend John is going to be selling his house. You should give him a call. I’ve already told him about you. We’ve talked about you, and he’s expecting your call.” Now, you have to actually do something about that. So, do you see the difference in those 2 stories? The first one is what I call the “passive referral,” meaning you didn’t have to do anything to make it happen. They just showed up on your doorstep and said the magic words, “My friend, Joe, told me all about you, and I’m ready to do whatever it is. I’m ready for you to adjust my back. I’m ready for you to paint my house. I’m ready for you to redecorate my house. I’m ready to get a new car. I’m ready to look at homes.”
Whatever business it is, people show up on your doorstep and say, “My friend Joe told me about you.” That is a passive referral, and it’s 70% to 80% of all the referrals that you get. And then that second type of referral is what I’d call a “reactive referral.” And that means that when your client calls you up, or your customer or your friend calls you up and says, “Hey, my friend Joe is thinking about selling his house. I was telling him all about you, you should give him a call,” you now have to react to that referral. See, the difference with the passive referral, they’re already right there. They’re on your doorstep, ready to go. That’s completely passive on your part. You didn’t do anything to make it happen. It falls out of the sky, and it’s a wonderful day when that happens. And it happens all the time. It happens for carpet cleaners, it happens for car salespeople, it happens for chiropractors, doctors, eye doctors, dentists. Anybody in business has somebody who was referred to them, and just shows up on their doorstep. That’s a passive referral.
Then, they also have the reactive referrals, where people say, “You should give my friend a call. He’s thinking about buying a car, and I was telling him all about you.” Now, you have to have a different level of skill on that, because you have to now take that information and you have to call Joe and introduce yourself, and turn that conversation into an opportunity to help them. So, those 2 things, the passive referrals and the reactive referrals, make up almost all of the referrals that actually happen. I had a big flip pad on the stage, and I would put 3 columns, as I was going through those stories. I’d put the numbers from 1-10 down the left side, and then I’d have 3 columns at the top; one with a big P for passive, one with a big R for reactive, and I would put a checkmark in which column the story that I was hearing would happen. So, we did this. I would get 10 people to do this. I probably did this at 40 events. So, I probably had 400 people go through this. And without fail, it was always either 80/20 or 70/30 passive and reactive.
But then, that left this third column, which I labeled with a big O at the top. And that third column was always blank, because I’m asking, spontaneously, stories of the last person that was referred to you. That was what was happening. But the O, that third column, is really the column where all the opportunity is. And that’s where you can take marketing knowledge and turn it into referrals by concentrating on that third column, which is the orchestrated referral. Now, right there, when you say that word, “Orchestrated,” you know that what we’re talking about is something that you can control. You can set the circumstances. You can control the conversation that you’re having, or communication that you’re having with the people who know you, like you and trust you, in a way that you can orchestrate that they give you referrals, that they refer people to you.
So, it’s a pretty exciting opportunity that not many people are really taking advantage of. The thing is that you’ve got a ready-to-market-to pool of people who already know you, like you and trust you. They’re the people who have already done business with you. You are their incumbent realtor or their dentist, or their chiropractor, or their dog groomer, or their roofer, or whatever your business is. If they’re somebody who you were the one who solved their carpet cleaning problem the last time they had it, you’re the one who is now their carpet cleaner. And hopefully, when they have a carpet need, they’ll think of you, especially for their own personal needs. But we want to do now is take that to the next level, so that when their friends have a carpet cleaning need, they’ll feel compelled to introduce you to those friends.
Joe: And that’s the key. So, how does one do that?
Dean: Well, here’s the thing. As soon as you get it, that you can orchestrate referrals, rather than just wait for them to come passively and reactively, most people will acknowledge that they’re not doing anything proactive to orchestrate referrals. So, there’s a couple of reasons why they don’t. It’s probably because they don’t know that they should be doing that, because they don’t know that this is something that could be and should be in their marketing mix, to use skillful communication that can set up the circumstances that somebody would refer a specific type of person to you. When you’re orchestrating this, what you can’t control when somebody referrals you, you can’t control what type of person they are referring, if it’s a passive and reactive referral. You get whatever somebody is delivering to you.
But with the orchestrated referral, you can set up the entire communication, the whole circumstances around it, so that you can encourage people to refer a specific type of person; any type of person that you’d prefer to have right now in your business. So, the biggest mindset that people have to overcome is to get out of this mindset that referrals just happen naturally, and to get into the mindset that you can actually make them happen. So, we’ll talk about some of the strategies that you can do that. But immediately, what happens is that people start immediately bringing up some blocks about orchestrating referrals. One of the biggest things that people have is that this overriding mindset that when people are referring, that they are referring as a favor to you. So, we’re reluctant to ask people to refer, because it seems like, in a lot of people’s minds, they may position that as feeling uncomfortable because it feels like they’re begging for business or they’re asking for business, they’re asking for a favor. And they approach it like that, like they’re asking their clients to do something for them.
But what I’ve discovered is the reality of why people refer is not as a favor to you, but as something that makes them feel good. The only reason we refer things is because we want to feel good about it. And if you think about any relationship, you think about each of your clients has a circle of relationships that have their own dynamics. They’re very powerful, their own little pack that they surround themselves with; that in their pack is their family, and their neighbors, and their friends, and their coworkers, and the people that they socialize with or they do recreation with. It’s pretty standard, the types of relationships that people have. One of the things that we always like to do is bring good things to our friends, so that we feel good about it. I started observing that dynamic, because even in close relationships, like I know even in our relationship, Joe, if I bring something to you, if I introduce you to something and you hadn’t heard of it. Or a particular book or a movie, or I introduce you to a friend or somebody, and it turns out to be a really good thing for you, that makes me feel good. That makes me feel good, because it feels like I’ve one-upped you. And really, when you look at it, most people have, in their lives, relationships like that. Our whole relationship is predicated on one-upping each other.
Joe: Yes. I’m going to refrain myself from making any other jokes, for the pure benefit of our listeners.
Dean: But you know yourself, it’s like your whole world is like that, too. The reason that you refer people and you’re such a great connector of people is because it makes you feel good when you see 2 people get together and do something great, and you’re the one who brought those 2 people together.
Joe: You know what’s funny about that? It’s like everyone refers to me as like a great connector, great connector, and I don’t run around and call myself “the connector,” or that I’m a great connector. It’s just one of the things that I do. Yeah, I get immense joy out of knowing that I can do it so much more effectively than you, because our whole relationship is predicated on that. In all seriousness, let me kind of step back, based on everything you said, which I completely agree with, and I hope that everyone’s really kind of understanding the psychology that you’re explaining. And we have talked about passive referrals and reactive referrals and orchestrated referrals, and engineered word-of-mouth marketing and all that stuff we’ve touched on, on past episodes, and it all ties in together. A couple things I want to mention. I can’t even remember what episode we talked about this on, but the happy client experience. I have this process that I teach. I teach it in the Nightingale-Conant program, and I teach it to carpet cleaners, and I’ll just explain it here.
Dean: I think we talked about that when we had Ivan Misner.
Joe: Oh, yes. Yes. I believe we did.
Dean: I think that’s when it was, because that was the other time that we talked about referrals, and we talked about passive, reactive referrals.
Dean: Just as a reference for people, if you’re just kind of catching up to the I Love Marketing show here, is that episode, with Dr. Ivan Misner, would be a great complement to this episode. So, you can go look up the number on that, and listen to that one too.
Joe: Yeah. He’s the founder of BNI, which is Business Networking. Just good stuff. If you can imagine 3 faces, there’s a face that’s frowning, and that would be an unhappy customer, there’s a face that’s just blank, it’s not smiling, but it’s not frowning. That would be a satisfied customer. And then, a happy face, which would be like a loyal client. What you’re doing in business is you’re delivering expectations. And people all have an expectation. I used to use this analogy years ago. I would say, “If you go to McDonald’s, which I would never recommend anyone that wants to eat healthy ever do, if you were to go to McDonald’s and order a hamburger. Your expectation is not that someone’s going to deliver it to you on a silver platter and say, “Oh my god, thank you so much for coming to McDonald’s!”
A lot of times, if the kid or whoever just threw you a bag of the burger across the counter, and didn’t even say thank you, most people in that sort of environment wouldn’t even notice it. It’s like you come there, you get your food, you go. It’s fast food – which, again, I don’t think anyone should eat fast food because it’s really toxic. But in that environment, there’s not this gigantic expectation. Well, if you went to Ruth Chris and you didn’t have a waiter or waitress say, “Thank you,” you’d be unhappy. So, what you want to do, as a business owner, is you always want to leave people with a smile on their face. Because the frowning person got less than what they expected. The straight face got exactly what they expected, no more, no less. And the smiley face got more than what they expected. One of the caveats here, with all the referral advice that Dean is mostly explaining, you always want to leave people with a smile on their face, because whenever you can exceed expectations, now people want to go tell somebody about it.
Walt Disney had a bunch of great quotes about this. I don’t remember any of them verbatim. Basically, a lot it boils down to if you want to word-of-mouth marketing, you’ve got to give people something worth talking about. If you want a referral, no one’s going to go and brag about something if it’s bland, if it’s boring, unless someone just absolutely needs it. And there are situations like that. But for the most part, you’re not going to orchestrate much around a bland, unhappy, satisfying experience. And the people that tend to think about this also are the same people that tend to think about lifetime value of a client. They’re the people that tend to think about really delivering a unique client experience. They’re people that tend to not be in the commodity business. They tend to want to package the delivery of their products and services in the way that makes them better, stronger, faster, higher-prices, that sort of stuff.
Again, there’s always exceptions to that. But for the most part, it’s people that are conscientious about what they sell, who they sell it to, the experiences of their clients. And if you already are that type of person – which I think you are, because most people wouldn’t be listening to a podcast on marketing, improving it, if they weren’t already of that mindset. Then you’re totally set up to really leverage and multiply your income in your business by really going deep with understanding referrals. So, I just kind of wanted to say that, because it’s just a given. It sounds like common sense, but a lot of people I run into think that they should just get referrals, when they don’t even look at the delivery.
Put yourself into the shoes of your customers, your clients. When’s the last time you bought from yourself? If you have lots of employees or you’re not really in, if you’re like a retail store, when’s the last time you bought something under disguise? When’s the last time you called your office? When’s the last time you purchased something online to your own company, and really looked at the client experience? I’m not saying you are going to be perfect all the time, but the point is you’ve got to continually exceed clients’ expectations, if you want to continually generate massive quantities or just improvements on referrals. So, I just wanted to say that.
Dean: You know what? That’s so valuable, though, because that really is what amplifies their desire to want to refer people. If you have more happy clients, that’s going to only amplify all of the things that you do to try and orchestrate referrals, because happy clients, you’re absolutely right, are the ones who want to brag about it.
Joe: With you saying, Dean, like us one-upping each other and stuff like that, if I go out of my way to recommend something to you that adds value to your life, what have I just done? I’ve just positioned myself. The value of an investment goes up based on the value of the investment. And if you want to have the value of your relationships go up, add more value. People always ask me, “How do you meet all of these people that you meet?” that sort of stuff. “Well, how do you meet Richard Branson?” that sort of thing. Well, I figure out and orchestrate ways to add value to his life, if I want him to add value to mine. It’s a pretty basic thing, in my mind, but I’m surprised to the degree that many people don’t think of it that way. This is all about value creation.
Dean: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And that’s what really sets the stage for being able to take advantage of the things we’re going to talk about now, which are the strategies for orchestrating those referrals. So, once you get past that mindset that they’re referring people as a favor to you, forget that. That’s not why people refer. And if that’s what it really is, then that’s not a strong foundation for you to build your referral marketing platform on. You’ve got to really focus on having a great experience, so people really feel happy and confident to refer people too. But if that’s the baseline, if you do have that, and I’m going to assume that you do have that, because you’re the kind of person that’s listening to I Love Marketing. And you’re constantly trying to improve your business and improve the way that you deliver your service or your product or the experience that people have with you, and let’s move on how do you actually start orchestrating these referrals.
So, when you get that mindset that they’re doing it for their own reasons, that completely changes your approach to it. That lets you now position what you’re doing in your mind as giving your clients an opportunity to feel good. You feel good when you refer people. You feel good. You feel like you’ve got high status. That’s really important for everybody in their pack, their own pack of people that they hang out with. So, when you realize that, now you can start looking at how do referrals actually happen. So, I’ve really done a lot of studying on this and a lot of observing, and thinking about the actual process of referrals. So, what I’ve observed is that all referrals happen as a result of a conversation. You never have a referral happen without there being some conversation that’s going on about it. And that’s what we do. We’re social creatures. And within our pack, we socialize. We have conversations all day. We have conversations with our neighbors, with our family, with our spouses, with our friends, with our coworkers, with the people we have recreation with, the people we have lunch with. All of those things, all day long, all the time, all we’re doing is talking. We’re having these conversations.
So, in order for a referral to happen, 3 things have to be present in those conversations: 1) they have to notice that the conversation is about whatever your business is, or something that would be valuable for your business. So, they have to notice that the conversation’s about real estate. They have to notice that the conversation’s about somebody buying a house or selling their house, or moving out of town, or somebody moving into town, or somebody buying their first home. All of those things are referral conversations. They have to notice that that’s what the conversation is about. Number 2) they have to think about you. They have to notice that the conversation’s about real estate, and that noticing has to trigger a thought about you. You have to come to their mind. So, when you’re talking about it, Joe, that happy clients have a good anchoring feeling about you, and whenever a conversation comes up about what you do, and they’re a happy client, that’s going to immediately make them think of you.
And then, the third thing that has to happen is that they have to introduce you into the conversation. So, 3 things: they have to notice, they have to think about you, and they have to introduce you into the conversations. Now, these conversations are happening all the time. We’re surrounded by them. Whatever business you’re in, it’s a certainty that the majority of people in your sphere, the people who are on your client list, are having conversations that would be relevant to your business, every single day. Those conversations are happening all the time. But, they’re probably not even noticing the significance that the conversation is about your business category. Even if they do notice it and they do think about you, that might not translate into them introducing you into the conversation. Or it might translate into them introducing you into the conversation in a way that is sort of passive on their part, that they say, “Oh, you should call my friend Joe, because he cleans carpets better than anybody.” Or, “You should call my friend Dean, because he can help you find the perfect house, or he can help you get your house sold fast.”
All those things are conversations that are happening, and scenarios that are unfolding. But for every one of those passive referrals that shows up on your doorstep, there are probably at least 3 to 5 times more times that your clients recommended you, and they didn’t follow-up, they didn’t end up calling you. Or they didn’t come into your store or come in to see you about their back, or ask you to help them sell their house. So, how do we make it so that it’s easy for those 3 things to happen? One of the things that people do, one of the things that most businesses do – and I recommend this – I can’t think of any business that wouldn’t benefit by having a monthly communication with your clients. If it’s a monthly newsletter or some sort of a communication that you are regularly in contact with you clients, so that you’re constantly present in that relationship. A lot of times, what people do is they’ll send things to their clients, they’ll send a newsletter, but they’re not really using it in a way that orchestrates those referrals happening.
A lot of times, people will send the newsletter, and it’s just a newsletter, and it’s just something interesting or that might be fun, but there’s no real triggers in it. There’s nothing where you’re asking for and getting a specific type of referral. The big mistake that people often make is they confuse being nice to their clients with an orchestrated referral process. I send them a newsletter, I send them a birthday card, I send them a holiday card, I send them flowers in the spring or pumpkins in the fall. I do all of these things for people, but my business card says “I Heart Referrals,” but nobody is referring me.
Joe: Can I mention something about that, too? This kind of goes back to doing everything right in any sort of communication, call it a conversation, call it a presentation, call it whatever sort of engagement. It’s like Sales 101. You’ve got to ask for the close. For instance, let’s go back to many people that listen to I Love Marketing saw me speak at Dan Kennedy’s event, the Super Conference, where I spoke to 1,200 people, and there was a line of 500 people that were standing in line to get a copy of the Gary Halbert XXX program CD’s. I guess publicly, I sold $120,000 worth of those right there at the spot, and probably $100,000 would have been purchased had they been able to get to all of the people that wanted orders. There’s a couple of hundred people that thought they missed out on the offer, because they literally couldn’t get the orders in. And this was a very robotic close. It wasn’t me up on the stage. I used a video. It wasn’t me pitching people from the stage, using some high pressure, manipulative sales pitch. It was very robotic.
The bottom line is, that took about 7 minutes, but my presentation was 70 minutes. Had I not spent 7 minutes showing them a video, making an offer, there would’ve not been $120,000 in sales, of which we raised $25,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, by the way. There wouldn’t have been any of that, because I simply wouldn’t have taken that extra step. Well, it’s the same thing, what you just said here. If you just don’t take that extra step, you’re missing out. So much of success boils down to sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a few seconds, sometimes a specific offer, sometimes online it’s a checkbox, what happens when people abandon a sales page; there’s so many little things. And as it relates to referrals, little hinges swing big doors. I love that quote. Hopefully, you kind of dissecting the anatomy of a referral here, people are able to see that paying attention to this really matters. I have clients that have literally doubled their income just by focusing on referrals, that already were using really effective before strategies to generate business.
Dean: The thing is – I’m trying to say this as powerfully as I can – that I don’t think that it’s possible to outspend yourself in your after unit if you’re orchestrating referrals the right way, the return on investment of communicating with the people who already know you, like you, and trust you. Just because, at the worst-case scenario, what you’re doing is you’re enhancing the repeat business element of your relationship with them. That’s the worst-case scenario that’s happening.
Dean: There’s so many ways to hedge it. The best-case scenario is that you’re going to get all of that repeat business. I think about marketing and communicating with your after unit, with all of the people who know you, like you, trust you, I look at that as at least repeat business insurance. You’re not going to have that kick-yourself feeling when you find out that one of your clients had sold their house with somebody else or went to another chiropractor or switched carpet cleaners just because you weren’t in contact with them and somebody else was.
Joe: Yep. Exactly.
Dean: It’s like what Dan Sullivan talks about, how people want to grant you a monopoly. Your clients want to grant you a monopoly on whatever it is your business does, whatever role that is that you fill in their life. They want to have a go-to carpet cleaner. They want to have a go-to chiropractor. They want to have a go-to real estate agent. Whatever business you’re in, people want to have that category, that problem, solved. A lot of times, most businesses just neglect people. Think about all of the businesses that you frequent or that I frequent, and you don’t get treated like an insider. You don’t get treated like they’re somebody who has adopted you and taken you into their fold, and has your best interests at heart when it comes to their category. It’s so rare; it’s very difficult to think of businesses who actually take that kind of approach. But the ones that do really stand out in your mind.
Joe: Totally. For instance, out of all of the airlines – and I’ve spent lots of money with lots of different airlines – I’d fly Virgin, if there was a hub in Phoenix, which there isn’t. But I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic, which is phenomenal. But Southwest Airlines. I get a birthday card from Southwest Airlines. I get a text message from Southwest, if a flight’s going to be late. They’re great. All of these other airlines don’t do that stuff. To me, it’s mind-boggling when I go to a restaurant, or I buy something, and they have my contact information, and they do anything after the fact, let alone send a newsletter. That’s why I think so many of your clients in real estate and so many of my clients that are professional cleaners and restorers do so well, when they adopt these referral strategies, because the competitors suck at it.
Everyone has a great business advantage, if you just start paying attention to people and you start thanking them, and you start treating them well. What Dan Sullivan said about the monopoly, he calls it a value creation monopoly, instead of a monopoly where you’re the only cable company or electric company or water company in town, and people are forced to do business with you no matter how crappy the service. If you have competition, how do you create a value creation monopoly, where it’s not through force and scarcity, but it’s through simply really taking care of people? I’ve granted Strategic Coach a monopoly because they’re awesome, and they do a great job. I think if everyone that’s listening to us right now thinks, there’s certain restaurants that you probably have, maybe be it a coffee shop, or places where…
Dean: Café Latte.
Joe: What’s that?
Dean: Café Latte.
Joe: Yeah, where you go. Exactly.
Dean: I have such a great relationship there, that I bought the building right behind the café because I go there every day, and it’d be so convenient to have my office right there.
Dean: That’s why I bought that building.
Joe: And people can watch the breakfast cookie video that I shot, that was done right there, which is on an earlier episode of I Love Marketing. So, just go look for the breakfast cookie video. But people that are listening have probably already granted certain businesses and services a monopoly already, and you probably tell other people about them. Part of even using methodology to generate referrals and introduce people is really thinking of your own existing experiences and looking at it, and moving backwards in terms of engineering what’s going on and understanding it. I think the better you understand this, the more you can apply it to your own situation. You’re probably already doing it. Go ahead, Dean. Give us some ninja methodology, here.
Dean: Okay, so let’s catch up to where we are. We know that we’ve gotten over the mindset that people are referring you because they’re doing you a favor. Get that out of your mind. Realize that the real reason people refer is because they want to feel good, and that’s why we refer anything. So, knowing that all of those referrals happen as a result of a conversation, and knowing that 3 things have to happen; they have to notice that the conversation is about your business category, they have to think about you, and they have to introduce you into that conversation. So, how can we orchestrate that? When you’re communicating with your clients, we talked about getting past the notion that being nice to your clients is enough. It’s not. You have to really overcome what is called bystander apathy. So, when you’re communicating with your clients, the very best thing you can do is communicate to them one-on-one, in addition to communicating to them in a group setting like a newsletter. Your newsletter is like broadcasting to people.
I used to do this as an example at our seminars. I would talk about bystander apathy, and the illustration of that is the first thing that they teach you when you take a CPR class or a first-aid class, specifically. When you’re the first person on the scene, and you’re administering first aid or any emergency situation like that, the first thing they teach you is not to just yell out, “Somebody call an ambulance!” “Somebody get a blanket!” Because, who is somebody? Somebody is somebody else. That’s not me, right? When you say, “Somebody call an ambulance,” then everybody turns around and says, “Yeah, somebody should call an ambulance. That would be a great idea.” Then, what they do teach you is they teach you to make eye contact and point at one specific person and say, “You, call an ambulance. You, get a blanket,” and you’re pointing and directing specific people. And when I would do this at the seminars, I would be pointing to 2 people in the front row, and I’d always ask, “What’s the likelihood of these 2 people calling an ambulance and getting a blanket compared to when I just looked over the whole audience and said, ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’”?
It’s the same thing when you’re communicating with your clients. If you’re communicating with your clients about referrals in a broadcast type of way, and saying, “Just want you all to know how much we appreciate your referrals, and if any of you know anybody who’s thinking about getting their carpets cleaned, we sure would appreciate if you’d refer them to us.” That’s the same kind of thing. If they see that in your newsletter or they see that in any kind of communication, they might think, “Yeah, that’s great. I hope somebody does refer somebody to Joe.” So, we have to get into a situation where we can identify the types of conversations that our specific clients are most likely to get into. What are the high- probability conversations that they’re going to get into?
So, I always look at it from creating a referral profile in your top clients, the people who are the ones who would be most likely to refer somebody to you, and really looking at their life and thinking, “If they were to refer somebody, what would be the most likely scenario for that to happen?” It’s almost like you’re creating a psychological profile, like on CSI or something, where they’re trying to create a profile of the person. What would be the likely scenario that they would refer somebody to me? When you think about it, I’ll give you a couple of examples. I’ll use a couple of real estate examples. If I were a realtor here in Toronto, I’ve got friends – I’m thinking of 2 specific friends – who live in a townhouse complex here. They have a 2-year-old who’s always out on the playground. She’s a stay-at-home mom and Mark works in the city, and she’s like Ms. Socialite. She’s out among all of the other mothers in the townhouse complex. They’re always out on the playground. She’s on the condo association board. She’s almost like the mayor of River Run. The mayor of the townhouse complex.
If I were thinking about it, if Kim were to refer somebody to me, as a realtor, it would most likely be somebody who lives in those townhouses, because that’s where, predominately, her conversations are taking place. If I know that about Kim and I have her flagged in my contact management system as a townhouse owner, and as River Run specifically as her townhouse complex. I know that I can go into my contact management and find people just like Kim who own townhomes and live in specific complexes. If I were showing townhouses to somebody from out of town or from in town, anytime I was showing townhouses, what I would do is go into my contact management system, find the people that I’ve got flagged with those specific tags to find them. And I would send Kim a specific email that says, “Hey, Kim, I’m showing townhouses this weekend to a couple from Atlanta. The only problem is there’s only 3 townhouses available right now. Have you heard anybody in River Run talking about selling their townhouse? We may be able to match them up with this couple from Atlanta.”
That short, personal, expecting-reply email sent to somebody who knows me, likes me, trusts me, is a happy client, and is in a position to help with that specific referral. She’s going to feel great if she’s able to let me know about one of the other mothers or other people in the townhouse complex who are just about ready to sell their house and buy another house. Because now, they may be able to sell their townhouse without even putting it on the market. Think about how that would raise Kim’s status in the townhouse complex, if she was able to orchestrate somebody getting their townhouse sold without them even having to put it on the market. That’s going to make her look like a hero. Wouldn’t you say?
Joe: That would make her look pretty awesome. She would even have a cape.
Dean: And she’s going to feel good about that, because that’s right in her wheelhouse. That’s something that she could specifically do. When you think about your business, and you think about the types of scenarios that your clients might be in, where they’re having conversations that would specifically be able to help you. It’s almost like what you’re doing is you’re taking those 3 elements of a referral conversation and applying them to yourself. It’s like you’re noticing the types of situations where you could use a referral right now, and you’re thinking about who among your happy clients, the people who know you, like you, trust you. Who do you know that could introduce you to somebody who is ready to do what it is that you’re able to help them with. You’re orchestrating a way that all 3 of those things can take place. You’re doing it yourself. You’re just reversing the process. You’ve got that awareness around it.
Joe: I love it. I love it. First off, I think we should just end right now, because that’s more than most people deserve to hear. I’m kidding, by the way. There’s always some weird person that’ll write an email about some I Love Marking comment and take it too seriously or something. I’ll say one of my smart-ass comments or whatever, and they’ll be like, “Ugh!” That doesn’t happen. Most people love us, just like they love marketing. For the little bit of time we have left for this particular episode, what do you think people should do?
Dean: Here’s what I think they should do. First of all, you’ve got to realize that, right now, there are people that are happy that you are in their life.
Joe: I’m happy, right now.
Dean: Exactly. And they are surrounded by people and having conversations every day. So, what’s very valuable for you is to start thinking about what types of conversations would I like to be a part of? Imagine if you had the capability to implant each of your clients with a special ear chip, that you could monitor, just like Homeland Security. And whenever you hear specific trigger words, you can be alerted and listen in on that conversation and take over that conversation and steer it towards you being introduced into that conversation. As soon as you notice a conversation about any particular thing that would be valuable – and it doesn’t just have to be an overtly specific conversation. If you’re talking about real estate, as an example, and I’ll give you some other examples too, but if you’re talking about real estate, because everybody can relate to this, a very valuable conversation would be overt conversations where somebody is talking about buying a house, specifically. They’re saying, “Yeah, we’re looking for a house.” That’s a pretty overt conversation. If you heard that phrase, “We’re looking for a house,” and you could be alerted that that conversation is going on right now, that would be a valuable conversation for you to be a part of. Or, “We’re selling our house.” That’s a pretty valuable overt conversation.
But what also would be valuable are the peripheral things, as well; the kind of conversations that are not directly related to real estate, but people talking about getting married, or having a baby, or their kids going to college. Those kind of things offer peripheral opportunities. If somebody is getting married, they’re probably going to buy a house, even though that’s not specifically what they were talking about. If somebody is having a baby, they may be in a house that’s too small for them now, or they may be in an apartment, and that could be a trigger for them deciding to finally take that step into homeownership, to create a stable environment for their kids. Or somebody going to college, especially right now, with the way the economy is and the way the opportunities are there in real estate. It might be an opportunity for the parents to invest in a property that their kid could live in and rent out some other rooms as an investment for the next 4 or 5 years, when they’re going to school.
If you’re thinking about and creating an exhaustive list of the conversations that would be valuable for you to be part of, that’s going to help you think about how to orchestrate those. So, those would be some examples for real estate. Let’s maybe think about some for carpet cleaning, Joe. You’re talking about an overt conversation would be, “We had this party, and we spilled this wine on our carpet.” There’s a physical stain that’s there. That’s a conversation that would be a valuable conversation for you to be involved in. Or, even on the other types of things, where you’re talking about they got a new puppy and the puppy’s been having accidents all over the carpet.
Joe: Or they go, and they got a new – not to compare puppies to babies, although there are some similarities – whenever someone has a new child. I even have a tradeshow process that I teach cleaners, where there’s a big poster, for tradeshows, of a big dust mite and a big baby and the headline’s, “Who’s crawling on who?” And that always tends to get the attention of women, when they’re walking through.
Dean: That’s almost unfair.
Joe: It is almost unfair, and we just gave everyone an unfair advantage. First off, there’s always an opportunity to basically introduce people to what it is you’re doing if you pay attention to conversations. Also, everyone, I think this week, should get their carpets cleaned. Even if you need it or not, I think you should go to EthicalServices.com, you should type in your zip code, find a local cleaner, get your carpets cleaned. Just make yourself feel good. That’s all I wanted to say. Here’s one thing, too, because you said something really funny about people being happy. This is sort of an aside, but I’m sort of like a demented individual, if that’s not already apparent to those of you that have listened to every episode of I Love Marketing. I heard this line years ago, but if you see someone that’s looking a little crappy or unhappy, just ask them, “Are you happy?” If they say yes, then say, “Notify your face.” I like that. I think it’s humorous as hell. And I want you to post the comments of how people respond to that on I Love Marketing. If you do it.
But I want you to do that. Try to find someone, hopefully, tonight, today, whenever you listen to this. Just say, “Are you happy?” “Yes.” “Notify your face.” Of course, the delivery is important, so I’m not probably doing the greatest job of delivering how to do it. But I want you to post your comments, and I would love to have you look at all of the people that you know that are business owners and all of the different ways that the economy could be improved if people got better marketing and created a value creation monopoly. We would love it if you introduced I Love Marketing to any person that you know that is in business that could utilize and benefit from these wonderful, proven marketing and referral strategies. So, what else, Dean?
Dean: I think those things, that awareness right there, sometimes awareness builds its own momentum. But if they just take that approach to realizing the types of referrals that you most want right now, and then orchestrate a way for specific people to give you those types of referrals, and to plant those referral seeds for people, they’re going to feel good.
Joe: They will. They will feel very good. At the end of the day, if you pay attention to this, I think the quality of your services will go up, I think the quality of your relationships will go up. There are many strategic byproducts that come from generating referrals. Even from one of my very best carpet cleaning clients now turned marketer, Kevin Thompson, he created a whole thing called a Client Counsel solely built around the very best people that were referring people to his business, and they became his unpaid sales force that loved referring other people to him. He would client appreciation dinners where he’d take everyone out to a restaurant. People think, “This is carpet cleaning.” Yeah, exactly. If a carpet cleaner can develop that level of rapport and connection with people, I don’t know who couldn’t do it. But the thing is, you’ve got to care. You’ve really got to care. That’s it.
Dean: There’s some good action items there.
Joe: Absolutely. There’s a ton of action items here. I appreciate your wisdom, my friend. What’s the last word here? Are you happy, Dean?
Dean: I’m happy.
Joe: Good. And I’m sure if I saw you right now, you’d be all smiling and stuff. There you go. That’s it. I’m done.
Dean: Alright, that’s perfect. It wouldn’t be right to end this without having an orchestrated referral situation for the people who are listening right now. So, pay attention to the conversations that they’re having right now. This whole week, they’re going to be in conversations with people who own businesses, and there are going to be conversations that aren’t about marketing. And I hope that when they have those conversations, that they’ll think about us, and that they’ll introduce ILoveMarketing.com right into that conversation and send people there, or send people to a specific episode. Your favorite episode that you really enjoyed, refer that to your friends. And it’s going to make you feel good, because they’ll come back to you and say, “Wow, I really loved that podcast.” And that’s going to raise their status in their pack.
Joe: Exactly. And those of you that are coming to our conference, bring your friends and neighbors, even the kids. I don’t even think kids want to play videogames anymore. They just want to listen to marketing.
Dean: That’s exactly what the kids are listening to these days.
Joe: They should be. At least the ones that are going to make any money in the future. If there’s any future ahead of them, they will be listening to I Love Marketing. This is real education. All true education is self-education. So, we appreciate all of our listeners that take the time out of their day, their night, whenever it is, and are continually learning how to improve their marketing, selling, and referral capabilities. Thank you very much. Until the next episode of I Love Marketing, goodbye.