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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SALES AND MARKETING: Remark-ability = Refer-ability

Sales and Marketing with Bill Doerr

15 Second "Speed Read":

It’s a rare business that doesn’t want more / wouldn’t appreciate generating more referrals. And there’s no end of good advice on how to get them. But getting the referral demands more than a tactical ‘move’ when you’re talking with a client or Center-of-Influence. It really demands being a remark-able business. It means delivering an experience for your customer or client that is so remarkable that you become referable as a result.

In this article, you'll learn a simple process you can use to learn how well you deserve referrals today and how to be the business that deserves even more in the future.

REMARK-ability = REFER-ability
In The Referral Engine, a fairly new book by John Jantsch, Founder of Duct Tape Marketing in Kansas City, MO, he makes a very valid point . . . a referable business must first be a remarkable business.

Afterall, who knowingly refers their friends and associates to a business is only ‘So-So’? Or, worse, refers a business that is more likely than not to ‘Drop the ball’ with a client?

Unfortunately, whether your business is remarkable in the referable way you want (or, not) is a reflection of how others see you.

That means that how others perceive you reflects the experience they have when they come into contact with your business – at any level.

Ask Your Best Source . . . Your Customer
In July, we developed an intensive program -- The Referral Machine™ -- designed to help a business generate more referrals in the future than it was generating in the past.

A key factor to achieving this outcome requires learning how a business is ‘doing’ in the eyes of it’s most important judge . . . the Customer.

So we created a Customer Experience Survey . . . and it only has 4 simple questions!

But they’re key questions to ask, because the insights they reveal can turn a ‘Ho-Hum’ business into a ‘Lean, Mean, Referral Machine!’.

I suggest you keep these questions nearby and, whenever an opportunity presents itself, use them to glean valuable insights about your operation and your opportunity to become even more remark-able and refer-able in the future.

Question #1: “Why did you choose our firm?”
In marketing, we seek to understand not only why someone wants what you offer, but why a willing buyer prefers to buy it from you! You want to learn why, on a micro level, your firm was a ‘preferred provider’ of the problem-solving expertise you offer.

Learning why you ‘won the roses and tiara’ will help you understand what makes you a competitive force in your marketplace. You will also understand how to best position your firm to win more often at the ‘beauty contests’ you’ll surely be involved in with prospects who are judging you all the time against your competitors!

Question #2: “Who Else . . . would you consider using if we didn’t exist?”
In marketing, it’s natural to assume there are ‘alternatives’. Years ago Avis recognized its main rival, Hertz in its advertising because they knew prospects at airport rental car counters would know of Hertz and they took them on right from the start.

So too, you want to know any other firm that might be a competitor. (And often, it's one you might not think of!) Learn why they’re a contender. Learn where you’re better. Learn where you're not. Insights about where you stand vis a vis your competition are extremely useful in marketing and don’t buy the BS that ‘Ignorance is Bliss’. It’s not. Actually, in marketing, it’s often very, very costly.

Question #3: “If You Could . . . What Would You Change and Why?”
No one (and no business) is perfect. We can all improve. Some more than others. But you need to ask this question to learn where improvement can be found in the way your business operates and, more importantly, in the experience your customers have with it.

Every customer, consciously or not, is judging their experience against your performance. If you don’t recognize where you're ‘falling short’, how can you make it better? Remember what we said about ‘Ignorance is Bliss’? It’s true here, too!

Why does a performance ‘GAP’ exist? There are only three (3) underlying causes:

1. “Doing . . . Please Stop”
your customer is getting something they don’t want from you. So, stop it!

2. “Not Doing . . . Could / Should”
your customer wants something they don’t get from you. So, give it!

3. “Doing . . . Not So Well”
your customer is getting something they want but not as they’d like to be getting it from you. So, ramp up the quality!

Question #4: “What Do You / Would You . . . Tell People We Do?”
This is an eye-opener! You’ll get their unvarnished perception of the value proposition you offer. News Flash!! it may not be accurate or desirable -- in your opinion.

But only your customer's opinion matters, here! If it’s not what you want to hear . . . this will alert you to an important opportunity to work on your operation, on the experience you deliver, on your messaging and, ultimately . . . their perception!

Question #5: “On a 1 – 10 scale, How Likely Are You To Refer Us?”
We used to advise clients to ask, “Would you refer us?”. But that’s all-or-nothing. There are no ‘shades of grey’.

Now we advise clients to use a 1 – 10 scale to assess a client’s willingness to refer.

If you hear something less than “10”, it should prompt you to ask, “OK, so what would have to change . . . for us to earn a ‘10’ in your eyes?”

You may notice that what you’ll learn . . . reflects the questions we suggested to you in Question #3 . . . “What would you change about the experience we offer you?”

Going directly to the source of your remark-ability and learning what customers value from you and how to create and deliver it even more effectively in the future . . . is a key factor in becoming an increasingly remark-able and refer-able business.

To learn more about The Referral Machine™ and how it can help you design, build, implement and maintain a referral SYSTEM for your business or practice, contact:

Bill Doerr, Partner / Markitect at SellMore Marketing. He helps professionals and other service providers to market their problem-solving expertise simply, effectively and affordably. You can reach him online at SellMore Marketing, or by phone at 860-798-6964.

For more information, please visit Bill's TNNWC Bio.

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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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