Keep The Pedal DOWN!
Ernie Neve, CPA
August 17, 2021
I know a LOT of companies that have been forced to rethink entire business models or their ideal clients are simply not able to make purchases.
What about those companies?
Well, if the problem you’re having isn’t generating sales but generating leads, there still plenty of solutions, but the underlying point stays the same – those leads have to be converted to paying customers.
Nonetheless, let’s assume you can close at a high rate, but you aren’t getting the traffic you need right now. What do you do?
The “standard” brick-and-mortar answer has always been advertising, but even that is suspect now.
Does your ideal client watch TV? Listen to the radio? Read a paper or a direct mail advertisement?
In a lot of cases, they don’t.
So – at least for the time being – let’s forget about “marketing” in the traditional sense.
What else does your ideal client need in their lives? What are they buying? When are they buying it? Where does your product or service lie in the progression of their purchases?
For example, if you sell appliances, it’s logical to assume you aren’t going to sell many to renters. (I know that some rental properties don’t come with appliances, but “most” do.) On the other hand, the rental property owner is going to need appliances.
The homebuilder is likely to need them as well.
Are you fostering relationships with landlords and general contractors? It would certainly seem to make sense to do so.
In a similar vein, if you were a skilled tradesperson – an electrician, for example – building a network of other skilled contractors who can refer business to you and to whom you can refer business is a great way to grow your company. A flood mitigation company, for example, might not be qualified to handle rebuilding the systems in a flooded house once they’ve dried it out, but their unique relationship to the homeowner would place them in a perfect spot to recommend your electrical contracting business to handle the work.
Are you building those types of relationships? It really could be as simple as a cup of coffee or a phone call every few weeks, sharing knowledge and ideas with others.
BNI – Business Networking International – has created an entire model of this around the globe, and if we look at the numbers their members put up in terms of referrals and closed business, the idea of referral marketing truly works.
Creating a network of partners you can trust to refer business to and who can refer business back to you is a very smart move *.
What’s that “*” for? Simple: A lot of people, unfortunately, think they should get “something” for passing business to you. I’ll leave that to your discretion. Personally, many of us in the professional world don’t – and legally can’t – take a finder’s fee or a referral bonus for a lot of reasons. If that’s the first thing a potential referral partner mentions to you when you discuss this, it might be smart to pass on them, but then again, depending on the business or the request, it might be prudent. No matter what you do, be smart and be legal. Don’t be afraid, too, to make it official – tell them you’d happily pay such a bonus, but it would be documented and, if necessary, you would issue a 1099 to them at the end of the year.
Creating and building your own referral network can offer some big advantages to you, especially in many industries right now. There are a lot of changes going on, a lot of strange growth, and a lot of new norms. You can capitalize on all this and make this fall a big success.