Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Equipping Your Clients to Recommend You Can Increase Word of Mouth. Marketing Secret 37/101

Create the Pitch and the Collateral for Your Referral Sales Force

You wouldn't send out your sales people to call on clients without training them in the business.  You want them fully equipped to answer questions, understand needs, and make the pitch.   You also wouldn't send them out empty handed.  You provide them with samples, business cards, brochures, demonstration helps, and links to online resources.  You give them a commission, bonuses, or other incentives to go 110%. 

Why not do the same for your happy customers who want to do their friends a favor by referring your fantastic business, but have lots of other things on their mind?  Moreover, when the time comes, they may not remember your unique selling proposition, or really much at all other than you were a good guy.

Help them out.  Some wag once said that if you are going to ask a favor, make it explicit.  Sending a customer out the door with "tell your friends about us," isn't specific and is not much better than "come again."

"Jim, it has been a pleasure doing business with you.  I hope you really take full advantage of everything our widget has to offer.  I'd be really appreciative if you'd tell your friends about how our widget is going to save you at least $50 a week.  The competition will save your friends money, too, but this widget save much more.  And Jim, $50 is a week is real money, don't you agree?"

So we've established our USP.  We've repeated it, and gotten Jim to agree.  Now hand him a card that says:  Save $50 a week.  "Jim, take a couple of these.  Pass them along to your friends.  Tell them to mention your name when they come in, and I'm going to send you and your wife out to dinner on me."

Now Jim has the pitch, the printed collateral material (which includes a website address), and a nice incentive to immediately go to work on his friends.

Maybe this idea immediately strikes you as smart and useful. But in case you need convincing...
10 years ago I added a sun room to the back of my house. We really liked the contractor and the job they did. He mentioned to my wife that he'd give some really nice gifts if we were to recommend him to others. She sold two $20,000 units to our neighbors, and we got $150 in gift cards. I tried to stifle a laugh at the horrible commission rate, but my wife was thrilled.

Remember, most folks love to help others, love to share information, and definitely enjoy a free meal at a nice restaurant.  Give them the tools, and put them to work for you.

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