Marketing Secret #67 RECOMMENDATION REWARD

Some people are terrible at getting recommendations.

So, there is one thing I want to impress on you, right now, from the beginning:

RECOMMENDATIONS ARE THE CHEAPEST AND BEST WAY TO BUILD UP A BUSINESS!

BUT THEY WILL NOT HAPPEN UNLESS YOU MAKE THEM HAPPEN!

As you know, we talk a lot about recommendations in this book.

That’s because there are dozens of these secrets that have some influence on the number of recommendations you get.

Pay attention, and think RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS!

This particular technique involves sort of stimulating your clients/customers/patients to refer with what might be termed “an incentive plan”.

Some of you may find this unprofessional or distasteful. We weren’t sure ourselves until we asked our clients, on the evaluation form, if they would be offended if we rewarded them for giving us a recommendation.

Want to guess what the results were?

I’ll bet you will be surprised!

82% of the clients said they thought it was a good idea; 14% said it was “unprofessional”; and 4% didn’t care either way!

We were delighted.

The 14% who said they would be offended? We learned that, almost to the person, they never referred anyone to us. So, if they were offended by a reward, who cares? They were obviously small-minded people who didn’t care if we stayed in business or not.

We then asked about what people would like as a reward, and how much it would be worth.

Again, our clients were very honest with us. I think the following letter explains the whole program for you, as well as them.

Remember to check with your local associations and a solicitor about what exactly you are allowed to offer for a simple recommendation – whether people do or don’t become clients/customers/patients!

Some industries regulate this kind of thing. Most don’t. Just check it out first.

If no “cash” incentives are allowed, simply change them:

  • Offer to donate a certain amount of money to a charity.
  • Hold a personal seminar for the referred buyers and sellers, at no charge or obligation whatsoever.
  • Buy the school a new computer with some of your profits following a certain number of recommendations.
  • Sponsor a local event.
  • Provide “free breakfast” for the homeless.
  • Set up a recommendation with a certain product or service for free if they are not completely satisfied with results when they use your services. Etc, etc…
  • Participate in community events – talk about press releases!
  • Get creative. There are many other options available.

Just make sure you check out the legalities!

RECOMMENDATION FORM

Please use this form to submit any recommendations you have for us. Using the form makes it easy for us to keep track of your recommendations and assures you will get credit for the Reward Program. If you have any questions about any of this, please call us as soon as possible. Thanks!

Name ___________________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________________

City ____________________________ State ____________ Postcode _____________

Home Phone ___________________ Work Phone _____________________________

Best Time to Contact _______________________

Check One

_____ Yes, please contact the above recommendation. We have already talked to them, and they are expecting your call! Feel free to use our name when you call.

_____ No, please do not use our name when you contact the above recommendation. I have mentioned your business, but have not yet brought up you contacting or working with them.

Name ___________________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________________

City __________________________ State ___________ Postcode ____________

Home Phone ___________________ Work Phone _________________________

Best Time to Contact _______________________

Check One

_____ Yes, please contact the above recommendation. We have already talked to them, and they are expecting your call! Feel free to use our name when you call.

____ No, please do not use our name when you contact the above recommendation. I have mentioned your business but have not yet brought up you contacting or working with them.

Customer Name __________________________________________________________________

(An important technical point; you may work in a field that requires checking regulatory agencies on the limit of gifts,  if any, and/or any legal restrictions regarding this concept! You must consult with a solicitor to verify how to use this technique without violating any laws or ethics code!)

When we first sent these out, the response was underwhelming.

No one was offended or mad; it just didn’t seem to make a difference in the recommendation rate…

Until, a few months later, after several reminders.

What we found was that, just like any other campaign, you have to repeat the offer.

And then, repeat it again.

We mention the program in the monthly newsletter (Secret #65) and in other formats such as Client/Customer/Patient Dinners. (Secret #75)

 After a while, the recommendations really picked up from this plan. It was interesting to see what gifts people chose.

What do you think is the most and least popular choice?
Answer: Most common choice is the gift certificate.

The least common choice is the donation to charity.
We thought it would be the exact opposite. (So much for human nature!)

You might also be noticing that the letter is written in a different style than may seem customary for a business professional. I will challenge anyone on the correct style of writing. The direct, straight forward style of this letter (as well as everything I write) will bring more positive response than you can imagine.

Enough on that subject for now. I will talk much more about writing style later on.

You should use this recommendation reward and/or the recommendation form for every opportunity you can think of. How about every other monthly newsletter (Secret #65), or with your new client/customer/patient welcome kit (Secret #69), or send a Thank You Kit (just like a New Client/Customer/Patient Welcome Kit, except as a thank you for referring!) Use your own imagination!

 

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