Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guest Post: The 5 Fastet Ways to Get More Referrals for Your Small Business

The 5 Fastest Ways to Get More Referrals for Your Small Business

Thursday is guest post day here at Conversations with Carolyn and another guest post is this one from Andy Sernovitz – Enjoy!
Thank you
photo credit: woodleywonderworks 

Most small businesses will tell you their new customers come through word of mouth, but very few can tell you how those referrals happen or where they come from.
But, it’s not magic and it’s not an accident. Great word of mouth is the result of a planned, well-executed strategy focused on earning raving fans and helping them talk about you.
The good news: It’s easy (and a whole lot of fun) to get started.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Just ask
Wait, hold on. Before we go any further, have you done the most obvious, most straightforward, and most effective word of mouth strategy of all? Have you asked your happy customers to tell their friends about you?
Remind them on their way out the door. Add a note to your receipts. Send follow-up emails that include a request for a review. Include simple sharing links on your checkout confirmation pages.
Really, just ask. It’s that simple. Happy customers would be glad to talk about you.

2. Focus on the first-timers
As much as a longtime customer may love you, they’re not as likely to talk as the new one that just walked out the door.
Think about it this way: You may go to a local spot two or three times a week for lunch, but you talk a whole lot more about that exciting new place you tried for dinner last week.
When we’re used to how great something is, what else is there to say?
So, go out of your way to blow the minds of the newbies: Treat them like VIPs, celebrate their arrival, let them taste everything on the menu, give them a tour, and make sure they leave with something that helps them tell friends about the incredible experience they just had.
You only get one chance to meet each new customer. Make sure it’s amazing.

3. …and do something fantastic for the old-timers
While the new folks might be easier to get talking, your loyal customers still represent a huge and worthy word of mouth opportunity.

Give them something great to share — things like a special discount code, beta access to new products, badges and status, a reunion, or a spot on a special advisory board.
Sure, it may take a little more to get this group talking — but their experience and loyalty to you makes their referrals more credible and effective.

4. Always, always ask for feedback
Not asking for feedback is sort of like cupping your hands over your ears — customers are still complaining, but instead of doing it directly to you, they do it publicly on review sites, blogs, and social networks.
It’s not only a great way to find opportunities for improvement, it’s also a great excuse to remind happy customers to leave a review.

Start your feedback requests with a sincere focus on getting the customer’s opinion. Don’t waste this opportunity to hear about where you could do better. Ask them to rate your stuff, to share ideas for what would make things better, and to give open feedback.

Then, at the end of everything — here’s where you can add a coupon for a friend, a link to relevant review sites, and a simple checkbox saying, “Yes, I give [company name] permission to use my feedback in their marketing materials.”
For inspiration, check out how the folks at use their feedback forms to earn referrals.

5. Learn to be great at saying “thank you”
Saying thank you to your talkers isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also a fantastic way to generate more referrals.
But, how do you find the talkers who deserve thanking? Easy, ask every customer how they heard about you. Leave room to share the referrer’s contact information and use it to send these talkers something nice.
Some businesses go so far as to send small perks (this dentist surprises his talkers with $20 Starbucks gift cards), but a friendly thank you note can work just as well.

The key here: Don’t try to buy referrals (it’s icky and often backfires), focus on thanking your existing talkers as a way to encourage even more word of mouth.
What about you? How are you earning referrals for your business? 

About Andy
Andy SernovitzAndy Sernovitz teaches word of mouth marketing. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking and CEO of and

Guest Book Review: By Sharon Martin for INNER PILGRIMAGE

Book Review
Inner Pilgrimage Ten Days to a Mindful Me 
by Raji Lukkoor 

Meet the Author
Hi I’m Raji Lukkoor, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.  A travel enthusiast, I was born and raised in Goa, India, but now call California, USA, my home, where I live with my husband and two sons.

I have loved to write since I was in the seventh grade, and although I went on to study and work in the field of environmental engineering, the art of communication always fascinated me and has consistently brightened my verbal, aural, written, and interpersonal competence. 

Travel- both physical and vicarious (although online volunteering)-across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia over the years has given me perspective, motivation, a sense of achievement, the ability to connect to others, and deep regard for the world's cultures.  In summer 2008, when an opportunity for travel presented itself, I couldn't resist.  It was the trip of a lifetime - at a  vipassana meditation course. This compelling experience held up a mirror to the reality of my existence, furthering my spiritual evolution and helping resurrect the authentic me. Thus was born my first publication, “Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me.”

Book Description
A profound human experience, a modern-day response to the primeval human quest for truth and meaning in life. By engaging in the author’s spiritual journey, readers learn about vipassana—a timeless, powerful, non-sectarian, and non-mystical tool for transformation. They see how the practice of mindfulness, nourished through regular meditation, can help anyone to live a life that is fully expressed, affirming, connected, healthy, compassionate, and vibrant. This book will appeal to all spiritual seekers and to anyone with an interest in Buddhism or meditation.

Inner Pilgrimage in the hands of vipassana master His Holiness S. N. Goenka
August 08, 2011
My Review
I have often watched documentaries on retreats with the secret yearning of wanting to attend one of these myself one day.  They show you the difficulties people have to overcome and the unbelievable transformations of peoples lives that can take place, it is simply amazing.

What you don't actually think about is what it is really like to participate on such a retreat for the whole period, spending every minute there, on the personal journey you have to travel to get to your destination.  For anyone thinking of going on a similar retreat this is a great book to read, giving you an insight of what it genuinely feels like to the there, day by day, through the authors writings.

When I first saw this book, for some reason I was immediately pulled towards it and couldn't wait for its arrival.  On opening the book two words struck out to me straight away 'inner war'.  The description was so clear and so close to home that the book grabbed my attention as soon as it had began.

As well as explaining, in fantastic realistic detail, how living through the whole course felt - through the emotions, the ever so true worries the author felt, the pain and yet the enlightenment she felt, it also explains basic Buddha and meditation methods learnt.  These are the parts where you may have to re-read certain pages to fully understand.

For me the main message in the Buddha teaching is that everything in life is impermanent and by not accepting this we create our own problems.  "Why agonize over that which is I, me and mine?  The body and the mind are mere wavelets of vibration and energy.  Egoism is futile because if brings unhappiness, disappointment, frustrations, sorrow, anxieties, and worries.  Happiness is to be sought not in the outside world where society judges you, but within the person, where eternal peace, compassion, equanimity, wisdom, joy and moral integrity flourish."

A fascinating read and I have so much respect for the author, travelling through her own journey.
"A beacon of spiritual light charted a new course for my life during the summer of 2008, when I attended a S. N. Goenka led, ten-day Buddhist meditation (vipassana) retreat. That experience sparked the writing of Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me--a mindfulness triggered spiritual transformation."

More information at
Visit Raji’s blog at
Find Raji on both Facebook and Twitter 

My Rating Photobucket.5
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