The Referral Marketing Mindset

The value of referrals is clear to any business owner. However, what may not be so clear is the process. Having the right referral marketing mindset can make all the difference in the close rate of your referrals.

We’re going to talk about the “give to get” mentality and why it all comes down to being intentional.

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Read the Full Discussion Below


Glyna: Good morning everybody!

Sarah: Good morning. We love this topic today. It’s probably one of our faves. We’re talking about the value of referrals. Obviously, there it’s clear what the value is, but I think what’s maybe not so clear is the process and what’s the mindset that you should have, and the strategy. Having the right referral marketing mindset can make a huge difference and pretty much the number of leads that you’re going to close. So, we’re going to talk about the “give to get” mentality and why it truly always comes down to being intentional. So it’s going to be a good one today and we are excited to get started.

Glyna: Welcome to Marketing Mix everybody! Every week, Sarah and I will be here to talk about different digital marketing topics. We like to cover trends. We like to talk about what’s new, give you some tips, just all kinds of things. And it’s usually digital marketing, but today we’re talking about something else that can go right along with digital marketing, referral marketing. So, it was just one more thing to put in your bag of tricks, I guess, to get some business.

Sarah: Yeah, truly. I mean, we talk about the whole thing of giving and tips and tricks and marketing stuff to help small businesses, but really small businesses. I mean, that’s kind of what this is about is anything that can add value or help a small business owner. And so we thought, “wow, referral marketing is something that we’re passionate about and it would be a great topic to talk about.” So yeah, before we get started, let’s jump in here. We go live every week on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. And you can catch the replay on Instagram and LinkedIn and our podcast Marketing and a Mic so helpful to listen to these shows go onto our podcast. So if you don’t catch us on video, you can catch our audio.

Glyna: Yeah. We’re everywhere. We’re not hard to find.

Sarah: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And always, I got to plug in our YouTube channel Fusion One Marketing because we are always putting out videos every week and it’s all, as we say, free resources to help business owners. So, this whole thing with referrals, it’s interesting to me, because I think sometimes the idea of referrals is a little bit one-sided, it’s sort of like, “how can I reach out to as many people as possible that are going to refer business to me?” And it’s sort of lopsided, we had that thing of like, “oh, let me, let me ask, ask, ask, ask, who can you give me? Who can you give me?” And, it’s just one-sided and not really the best route to take don’t you think?

Glyna: It is. I just love it. I’ve been networking and using referral marketing…

Sarah: Since you were in diapers.

Glyna: I was going to say 10 years, but yeah, it has been 10 years or more probably even before I started this business 10 years ago, but it is something that- if you change your mindset just a little bit and you’re able and willing to give to others and help others, it’s just going to help you in the long run. So, I’m really excited to dive into this. And so let’s talk about the referral mindset and what that’s all about.

Sarah: Yes. Okay. So, really the first thing that we, when we were talking about this is the intentional networking, and it really comes down to, you could sort of network yourself to death. If you don’t have a strategy, you might think like “I’m going to be everywhere I could possibly be and put my face out everywhere.” But if you do that, you might find after a month you’ve exhausted yourself and you really haven’t accomplished anything.

Glyna: Yeah, that word “intentional” is going to come up a lot. When we’re talking today when people are first starting and it’s natural in business, you want to go to every single thing that you possibly can, and being seen isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that you can’t keep that up. You have to really pick and choose the best events that are going to fit you. So, choose your events wisely so that you don’t wear yourself out and you’re making the most of it.

Sarah: Yes, that’s true. I mean, that’s kind of just a good strategy in life. Anything that you’re going to commit to just make sure that you can fit it into your schedule and that you’re going to show up and it’s something that’s a time and a day that you can stick to. I mean, you can’t be everywhere all the time. I mean, you have to pick something that actually makes sense and you can put it on your calendar and you’re not going to miss it because it’s that “quality over quantity”. It makes total sense.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. And you can start by setting specific goals. Your goal shouldn’t be, “I’m just going to this event, whatever I’m hanging out for an hour and a half” you should really think about what are you needing to get out of this? Are you needing to just be a resource or get resources for your clients? Are you wanting business out of it in the end? Is that your end goal? Or do you just want to expand the number of people you know or expand your business circle?

Sarah: That’s a really good point. Cause I think you may go into this mindset of like, “I’m going to go there and just sort of feel out the room and feel out the people and chit-chat, socialize.” And that’s really only going to get you so far. Cause if you don’t have specific goals, how are you going to know who to talk to? When you say like set up the specific goals, it’s pretty important to do that before the event. So it’s like, “okay, am I trying to find somebody that I want to set an appointment with that I think might be a good referral partner for me? Is it a company that I think I can help?” Whatever it is just really be intentional. We’re going to say “intentional” forever and ever, and ever, but pull the game plan together and yeah, go in there with a purpose,

Glyna: Right? Go in with a purpose. And after you come up with this plan or you find the events that you want to go to. Be visible. I know that sounds silly. And you’re like, “I’m here. I’m obviously visible” but it’s not just that if you are visible and contributing, then that leads to profitability. And Megan Chitwood with BNI is always talking about that. You have to be visible. You have to be there to make it really work for you. If people don’t see you, then you can get replaced very quickly. If you’re in networking groups and you’re that person, and we would be the people for marketing and they’re like, “oh yeah, that’s obvious. I see Glyna all the time.” But once Glyna goes away, the new marketing person comes in. It’s easy for them to lose sight of your visibility.

Sarah:   Yes. Yes. Megan Chitwood says that profitability comes visibility… comes from visibility. So couldn’t be more true. As you said, I could be sitting there and be like, “well, there’s a new marketing company here. And I haven’t seen Glyna in a while and she was here one time, but she hasn’t been here the last four meetings, so this guy’s here, he’s a marketing company. I’m going to talk to him.” So, that’s where the visibility comes from. And that’s where the whole thing of put it on your calendar and stick to it. If you can’t be consistent, it’s not the right event for you. Really.

Glyna: Exactly. Oh my gosh. And you said this can happen. This is great information for anything- being consistent. We talk about that all the time. So have a plan, be consistent. And then you need to think about finding the specific people or what we call “connectors” and what a connector is that person, you walk in and it’s that person that you feel like knows everybody. So, you want to make sure that you have specific goals to accomplish when you’re going here and make sure you seek out that person that knows everybody. And you’ve seen them in a room everybody’s drifting toward them. That’s the person that seems to know everybody. And you could even talk to the person who’s in charge of the event and talk about an agenda. Even maybe ask them who would be a good person to be introduced to or who should you know.

Sarah: Gosh, that’s so true. It’s like when you do when you walk into a room, you can pinpoint that person that knows everybody and they are truly a connector. So, pretty much every networking event will have a connector. And if you don’t know anyone and it’s your first time, the best way to kind of break the ice is to just kind of become that person. And again, Megan Chitwood which she had a great example of how, if she doesn’t know anybody, well, then she’ll just stand there by the door and be the greeter.

Glyna: I know that’s hilarious.

Sarah: I find myself in the position of “Hey how are you! Come on in” and it’s just so great. It breaks the ice and sort of makes people have that perception of, “oh, okay. Well, she’s somebody I might want to talk to.”

Glyna: She’s so funny. She goes, “it can be a little awkward at first.” I was like, “yeah I can imagine it might be”

Sarah:  It’s like “Let me just introduce myself” and they are like “Who? and you are?”, Doesn’t matter. Yeah.

Glyna: People coming to the event, especially if they’re new, don’t know who the heck you are. So, act like you own it. Act like you’ve been there. Right? When you don’t know anyone,  just stand at the door. Act like you’re the host.

Sarah: This is a big one. I love this next one.

Glyna: This is a biggie and people don’t understand it, but it’s not really that difficult when you think through. All right. Let me see if I can explain this in a way that people can understand it. When you’re setting your goals, you’re trying to find the right event to go to, one of the things, one of the plans that you could have in place is to find natural referral partners for yourself. Now, what do we mean by that?

Glyna: A natural referral partner for you would be somebody that sees the same type of customers that you do. It wouldn’t be awkward for them to bring you up in their sales conversation and vice versa. For instance, we’re a marketing company. Now, obviously, we want to talk to people and help them with all of their marketing things, but something that would be a natural referral to us that we could also talk about and help out a friend would be like promotional items. We don’t offer promotional items, but it only makes sense when you’re meeting with the client, everybody has something with their logo on it. So, that’s a natural conversation. It would be the same way for them. If they’re in there talking about promotional items and what the company needs, they could talk about other marketing. So it’s somebody that sees the same type of customers that you do that you could almost partner with.

Sarah: Right. And it’s something that could be… It doesn’t fall in your line of business, so it doesn’t directly compete with your business. So even this is an idea that you brought up too, I thought was really cool, but even form your own small group of referral partners and plan your own meetings like once a week. So, it’s sort of like that. I don’t want to say like-minded, but you all have the characteristics where you can all help each other. You have something that can help them. They have something that can help you. So, you can meet up once a month, talk about who you’re working with if you can introduce anybody to each other. And so it’s sort of like a nice small group where it can be that more direct approach about it and everybody knows why they’re meeting. And it’s really just that we’re going to talk about who have I talked to? Who I could maybe refer to you. I think it’s a really good strategy that you brought up.

Glyna: Yeah. It’s a strategy and it’s something that can happen naturally and help you not have to go do those cold calls. You have an introduction. So, what you’re talking about is perfect. If you’re not in a referral group, you can start your own little referral group and have those natural referral partners that you meet with and talk about a strategy. , You obviously want it to be something that doesn’t compete with you for the same dollars, but it’s those ala carte items that your customers need. So it’s something that you’re helping them with. You kind of just want to ask yourself before you start putting this group together or finding these people, “Is this something that I wouldn’t mind talking about in my appointments with my customers? Would it be weird or would it take dollars away from what I’m trying to do?” You got to be strategic and not hurt yourself, right, in the process.

Sarah: It’s like ancillary items. It’s like you’re pitching out different products. So you could start recommending things that would fit in line with some of the services that you’re already offering. And again, it’s not competing with what you’re doing. It’s just something that would still fit in line with what you’re trying to accomplish. And it would still help the customer.

Glyna: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Timing though is important. People that have been in sales or own their own business, know how important timing is. For instance, if I’m talking to a customer and we’re really getting to the point of we’re coming up with a solution for them and they already know the price, they know what to expect. You don’t want to take that time to say, “oh, also, would you like to spend more money over here on this that my friend has?” You know, you want to again, be strategic, timing is everything. And just make sure it fits in the conversation and really that it’s the best thing for your client. You’re really just kind of being an extra resource for your clients. It’s a way for natural referrals. You’re adding value. I mean, your customers really… They appreciate that.

Sarah: Yes. I was thinking in my mind, it’s almost like if I’m shopping for a dress and I’ve finally settled on my dress and then they come over and they’re like, “well, you should think about these shoes and think about this purse and think about these earrings” and the order of it would be really important, you know? Like I got to get sold on that dress. And then it’s like, “oh, they’re asking me to think about these other things instead of them coming in being like, “you need the dress and the shoes and the purse and the earrings”

Glyna: Yeah. Especially if you’ve already told them what your budget is. Right. And then they’re trying to sell you all these other things. It’s like, okay?

Sarah: Yeah. You’re picturing yourself holding and they just keep piling stuff on. But anyway, so yeah. So we talked about the natural referral partners and that’s a whole set in itself.

Glyna: It’s brilliant.

Sarah: Brilliant, brilliant. The other item would be to find your direct referral. So, it is a whole different process in its own way, because these are direct people that could benefit from your services, but it’s a little bit more if you don’t have any type of relationship with them directly yet. And so that’s another thing about how you want to establish your goals and they really need to be almost separate goals from those natural referrals. And even the conversation needs to be a little bit different, but before you go to a meeting, look at the directory and see like, “okay, I’m going to scan through this. And I’m going to find three people that I think I need to have a conversation with.” Do a little bit of homework first, find those people that feel like, okay, “those are people that can benefit from my services. And those are the ones that I’ll have a conversation with.”

Glyna: Yeah. And what’s really cool, a lot of events these days have that invite that’s on Facebook, where you can go see who is responding, who’s going to be coming to the event, you know, who’s going. So, that might even be a good place to start because you’re right. Direct referrals mean you know what type of industry works well for you or what type of customer works well for you, so you want to see if they’re going to be at the event. Or again, walk in the door and if you’re running into someone, ask them, “Hey are there any of these people that I should introduce myself to?” Think of specific things like in our business, home service industries would be perfect or would be great. So ask, again, the person who looks like they’re in charge of the event, or maybe check out ahead of time who that is. is there anybody here that is in heating and air conditioning or pest control or whatever that would be, you know, for us, but just kind of think about who would be a great fit for you.

Sarah: Yes. And that’s key. It’s always kind of that whole process of timing. And once you’ve gotten your introductions, introduce yourself immediately and make sure that you’ve got a list of the visitors, the new members from every event. So if there are new faces that are coming into these events, you want to know about them and do your research. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy stalking.

Glyna: I was going to say. be careful with that.

Sarah: I was thinking about the one girl, “I just became friends with them or something. All of a sudden I’m getting likes from pictures from 2016. Hang on, how far are you diving into my profile?”

Glyna:  I know. Or you haven’t met them and they’re like, “yeah, I saw that you went to the beach last weekend.” It’s like, “yeah.”

Sarah: Look at it with a purpose, you want to go on LinkedIn, find out who their connections are, who they are connected with. See if there is anybody that they’re currently associated with that that is using or could need to use your types of services. So again, it’s just sort of doing a little bit of research ahead of time so that you’re walking into it with some information.

Glyna: So, let’s say that you actually find somebody that you need to be talking to, or that could be a potential customer or a prospect for you. What do you do? What do you say? You could just be natural, you don’t have to act all weird and everything. You just walk up to them. I mean, it’s a networking event, so they should expect people to walk up to them. Although I have been into some weird networking events where people just kind of look at you if you do that, you can kind of feel out the room a little bit, anyway, you can even just say, “Hey, I haven’t met you I’m so and so, what do you do?” Focus on them, you can never go wrong with focusing on the person and asking them all about themselves. People like to talk about themselves. They like to share about what they do and what they’re all about. So, it’s kind of a pathway to gaining that relationship or even gathering information. I mean, you talked about the mindset- that’s very important to think about.

Sarah: This is where I think it’s such a difference-maker, it truly is. There is a lot to be said for being a good listener. I mean, it truly can make such a difference. We do all like to talk about ourselves. It’s just something that a lot of people share, but being a good listener, boy, I’ll tell you that’s about having the right mindset. That’s about having that referral marketing mindset because it’s more about concentrating on them. It’s like, “Hey, is there anything that you’re working on that you’re needing help with?” Just simply open with those open-ended questions. So, tell me about your business. Is there anything that you’re working on that I might be able to help you with? Make sure again, we say the saying that they’re doing most of the talking and be authentic. Oh my gosh, this goes right in line with the be intentional. Usually when they start finding out, like through a natural conversation and you’re opening it up by getting them to talk about themselves, then they’re going to be, when they find out what you do, more willing to have that common exchange with them, and they’re going to ask you the same questions and it could be, you know, just make it very natural of, “oh, I’ve got a guy that does social media” and you’re like, “Perfect. Let’s talk more about that.”

Glyna: Yeah. You’re exactly right. It’s funny because I’m going through a training class right now and I’m going to give a shout-out to Kristine Sizemore. She is an amazing business trainer, but she said something in our last session, don’t be attached to the outcome.

Sarah: Oh, I love that.

Glyna: Oh, I’m like that, just, I want a sign, I’m going to have to put in here because what’s your outcome? Your outcome is I need business. I want business. That’s why I’m doing this. I’m not just here for the heck of it. Yeah, you might like to meet people, but the outcome is you want to… You have a purpose for being there. You want more business, but if you’re not attached to that outcome of, “I’ve got to sell something and just have to sell something” and you’re more concentrating on how can you help that person? It just makes all the difference. But that to me was such an eye-opener. I love that saying, so ask the right questions. Don’t be some weirdo. Like, you just tell them everything that you have, that you can sell them and help them with and all this stuff, focus on them. Again, this is a referral marketing mindset that we’re talking about. How can I help you? Ask them that. I mean it may feel awkward at first, but you can really work that into any conversation. Just say, “what are you working on right now? Is there anybody I can introduce you to? I mean, who are you wanting to meet here? Maybe, you know, somebody.”

Sarah: Yes. I love that saying it’s all. I always refer to the Nick Saban mindset, which is always about the…

Glyna: Roll Tide.

Sarah: Roll Tide! Focus on the process and the place I focus on the process. And he says “If we’re always focusing on just winning, winning, winning, winning, well, then we’re kind of missing out on the whole process to get there.” So it’s almost like if you’re focusing on the process, the outcome will come. So anyway, we’re talking about the referral marketing mindset. It should be that it’s always the mentality should be is there something that I can help them with? If it’s already in place, even if it’s something small. So here’s an example. We have a really fantastic review system. I mean, it is gold. I mean, if anybody’s looking to get more reviews, I mean, we really want to talk to you about it because it’s just been fantastic for our clients. But so if anybody that you’re talking to, if they’re not doing reviews or needing reviews, that could be a tip for them, even if they’re not signing up. If your end goal is to get them to sign up, or it could be, just an example of say, “Hey, here’s something that we’re doing for other customers. If it feels like it’s something that might be a fit, I’d love to talk to them.” As you said, natural, authentic, just work it into the conversation if it makes sense.

Glyna: Yes. Yes. Be authentic. And you know what? It feels so good. We have some BNI people here today. BNI is a business networking group, that’s focused on “givers’ gain” on this referral marketing and referral networking. You really want to help them. And I’ll tell you what it is the best feeling in the world. When you’re able to give someone a referral or able to help somebody, it takes you into a whole other world. And then you kind of forget, oh yeah. You know, focusing on that outcome because it’s going to lead, like you said, if you follow the process, it’s going to get you there. So this is why we come up with a game plan, follow the process. And a really cool thing is to talk with the person for a while. And if it’s somebody that you really gel with or somebody that you think you need to carry on the conversation, follow up with them, you don’t even have to do it that time. Right? At that moment you could, or it’s just, whatever’s natural. Like, “you know what? Maybe let’s have coffee sometime and chat a little bit more about your business” and you know, you could say those kinds of things, or even shoot them in a text or an email after the event that shows that you were thinking about them and that you enjoyed the conversation. You could even with the follow-up, this can be awkward, but you can feel out the situation, say, “I really want to help you. Are you on LinkedIn? You know, I’m sure you have LinkedIn connections. I definitely have LinkedIn connections. So before we meet, feel free to go through my connections and see if there’s anyone I can introduce you to” even if they don’t come back and say the same thing, that’s fine. Again, you’re going through a process.

Sarah: Yes. And approaching it the right way. And again, if you’re saying that, then follow up and follow-through of, “I’ve got some people on my LinkedIn connections”, then do it and mean it and mean well, you know, don’t make it be that fluff. So with your follow-up, it’s a schedule where you want to meet what you plan on talking about what you’re going to do afterward. But truly it should be that conversation of, “I said that I can help you. And I mean truly, that’s what I want to follow up on. I have some people and these are some people I think that you need to talk to”. It just goes a long way when you’re really authentic.

Glyna: It’s so funny because everyone always thinks you have another motive. People aren’t used to this. So, when you start this, it may feel a little awkward. But again, if you help enough people, they’re going to remember it. If it feels a little awkward, that’s okay, you’re going to get better at it. As long as you’re being yourself, as Sarah said, be authentic, be intentional. And the fluff. I love that you just said that, forget the fluff. Just be you and go in with a sense of who am I going to help. So, talk to people and allow them to talk about themselves and the things that they love.

Sarah: Yeah. The whole thing. If you help enough people, they will remember it. So it does come back to, it really is. You’re not getting lost on your goal. And I think that’s where we have this whole referral mindset of it’s one-sided, but you’re not losing track of your goal. You’re just approaching it in the way of – if I’m helping others, not only are you going to be kind of gaining a lead in that regard, but it’s what you do to help give them referrals that’s going to help you gain referrals. So the approach to it is, where you’re getting stuff from it. You know, you have a goal of mine, but you’re also helping them in the process and you’re truly helping them in the process in a non-invasive way.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. And I will say this to end this, we do digital marketing. I mean, that’s no secret here, but we also use referral marketing in a huge, huge way. And we really, truly would like to help you with this and can plug you into some events and some groups. And if you’re not used to this mindset, I love talking about it all day long. If we can help you with this or any type of digital marketing, we would love to do that.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. Well, this was a fun one.

Glyna: Thank you everybody for joining us today and go back and watch this again, to kind of get some more tips on how you can be intentional about your referral marketing. So until next time, I hope you have a wonderful week. Bye.

Sarah: Bye