5 Ways to Make Your Business Super Referable

by Guest Expert

A few days ago I shared some interesting figures from the book ‘Turn your customers into your sales force. In this book Author Ross Reck commented that... “A whopping 50% of your business success comes from getting existing customers to recommend and promote your business to their friends, associates and colleagues." (In other words, half of your success comes from getting your customers to tell other people about how good your business is.)

In this message I thought I'd share 5 simple strategies to help you make your business super referable. I suggest you read through these 5 strategies and put at least 1 or 2 of them into action this month.


Super Referable Strategy 1:

Do things differently to your competitors

A good example of doing things differently is my good friend Paul Vujnovich who owns Harvey's Real Estate in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Paul and his team do not sell properties by auction and they do not let their clients spend money on advertising in printed newspapers.

(This is radically different from how over 95% of other real estate firms operate.)

Paul's business is part of the LJ Hooker Real Estate Group in New Zealand with around 90 offices country wide.

At the recent awards for LJ Hooker Paul and his team 'cleaned up.'

They won basically every major office award.

A. Most Productive Office in NZ - Income Earned (3rd Year in a row This is the award Paul values most highly.

B. Most Productive Office in NZ - Total Number of Transactions (3rd Year in a row)

C. Best Office In NZ (up to 20 agents) - Income Earned (2 out of last 3 Years)

D. Best Offic e in NZ - (up to 20 agents) - Total Number of Transactions (2 out of last 3 Years)

E. And to cap it off - Paul was named as the groups Franchise Owner of the Year!

A brilliant night for Paul and his team considering they do things very differently from most other real estate firms.

Because Paul's team is very different in what they do (and they get remarkable results for their clients) it makes their business
very easy to recommend.

Is there a way you could do things differently from your competitors that your customers would value highly?

Super Referable Strategy 2:

Become a master of one thing

This strategy just means you become known as the person or business who is the best at doing one thing.

I saw a great example of this from my marketing colleague Christine Clifford.

Christine's brother is a carpenter in Montana in the United States.

Several years ago when the economy was booming, he was busy working on multimillion dollar houses. When the housing market in the United States came to a screeching halt, so did his building work.

The builders that had been contracting him to come in and work on these homes stopped calling.

So Christine went to visit her brother and they drove around his community looking at these houses that he had helped to work on.

Christine quickly realised that her brother was lovingly pointing out the woodwork that he had done on these homes: shutters, decks, stair rails etc. Then he was talking about how on the inside of each home, his speciality was hardwood floors and internal pieces of fine woodwork.

So she said to him, "You know, Greg, what you really are, is you are a master of fine woodwork. You've been positioning yourself out there as a carpenter, and they are a dime a dozen. So let's go home and create a simple one page flyer for you that just says, 'Greg, Master of fine woodwork' and see what happens.'

Well, you can guess what happened.

People started calling up her brother to come and do the woodwork in their home. And since he is also a carpenter they would ask him, "By the way, now that you are in my house, I've got these doors that are broken, and the deck needs to be fixed. Can you help?"

Of course he was able to do all that work, but he was putting his resources- his time, his money, and his people-into getting the message out there that he was a 'master of fine woodwork.'

What happened to Christine's brother is his business became so successful; he had to hire people to work for him!

That's a great example of how if you spread yourself too thin and try and help everyone, not only do you have a lot of competition, but no one looks at you as an expert in your field.

What one thing could you focus on becoming very good at in your own business? 

(This could make it easy for people to recommend you.)

Super Referable Strategy 3:

Have a 'special way' of doing business

A few years ago my wife and I had some extensive renovations done to a property that we were living in. We used around fifteen different trade’s people to help us, including an interior designer, three builders, a plumber, a gas fitter, a plasterer, 
two electricians, a carpet layer, two tile layers, a painter and several others.

Two years later we were talking about which of these trades people we would happily recommend to any of our friends.

We were quite shocked to discover that we would only recommend one tradesperson without reservation.

What was this tradespersons secret advantage?

Was it the quality of his work?

Not at all.

He did good work, but so did many of the other trades 
people we used.

Was it his prices?

Again no. His prices were reasonable.

Was it his excellent follow-up service after completing his work?

Definitely not. One thing that every tradesperson had in common is that we never heard from them after they have 
done their work.

No follow up phone call, no thank you note, in fact no follow up communication at all.

Our star tradesperson is a plumber named Brendon who we have used several times now.

Brendon does good work, but more important he does one thing that adds value.

He always shows up on time. That’s it.

None of the other trades people showed up on time consistently.

They would say something like

“I’ll be there tomorrow at 8.30am”

and show up at midday.

Brendon’s special way of doing business is that he always shows up on time.

We really appreciate Brendon showing up on time because he is the only tradesperson we have used who does this.

So we are delighted to recommend him.

What special way of doing business would your customers appreciate?

Super Referable Strategy 4:

Provide 'added value' to your customers

This one concept gives you unlimited possibilities.

In the book “How Champions Sell” is the story of Steve.

He was an industrial sales representative and sold hardware, nuts and bolts to industrial accounts.

Steve dealt mainly with buyers in purchasing departments.

His products were considered a commodity and he was under constant price pressure.

Now Steve was an engineer, and became interested in warehouse operations.

During some extended sales calls, and during some of his weekends, he worked with the warehouse manager of one of his accounts.

Together they upgraded the accounts warehouse management system. This saved the customer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

His customer was very grateful and gave Steve all his hardware business with little concern for price (as Steve was generally 

The owner of this company and the warehouse manager referred Steve to several other companies in the area.

Steve helped install the cost-saving warehouse system at some of these companies. He picked up their hardware business, 
again with little concern about pricing. Soon Steve was calling on the owners of companies (not buyers) all over his territory.

He offered the added value service of improved warehouse operations. This was accompanied of course by the purchase 
of his hardware line. Steve became the most successful sales person in his company.

Steve’s service of helping his clients improve the efficiency of their warehouse operations is a perfect example of adding 
value to his customers.

And made his business very easy to refer and recommend.

What added value can you offer your customers that they would really appreciate?

Super Referable Strategy 5:

Change the game

Neil Raphel is an expert in marketing and publishing.

Neil told me that sometimes when you are competing in business and you are not doing very well it‘s smart to change the rules 
of the game.

Neil used the ‘change the game’ strategy in his own publishing business.

The way the publishing industry worked in typical times was they gave the authors a big advance, and then gave the authors a little bit of money when the book sold.

They figured they would have about nine failures for every success but the success would be so big it would pay back all the money they spent and make a great profit.

Well those times are over.

The publishing companies haven‘t survived.

The ones that were doing that are all falling by the wayside.

You can‘t have nine failures for one success.

So what Neil has done in his publishing business is change the playing field.

He said to business people wanting to write books, ‘We will be your partners. You put up half the money and we‘ll put up half 
the money. You get involved in marketing, we‘ll get involved in marketing and when the money comes in instead of getting 
you 8% of 10% we will give you 50% of the sales.’

Instead of having nine failures for each success, Neil has over nine successes for every failure.

He changed the odds, he changed the paradigm and he makes a lot of money. And this makes his business very easy to refer.

There is a doctor in Brooklyn, New York who changed the game.

Guess what he is doing in his medical practice to be different? He's now making house calls.

Nobody makes house calls these days.

He's does it through the internet. Using Skype he puts himself in your house to talk to you and treat you. He does one office 
visit to get all your background information but he keeps up with his clients regularly either by walking around Brooklyn 
and visiting them or doing it through emails and Skype.

And he's doing amazingly well.

How can you change the game in your industry?


Graham McGregor


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