Lead Generation

Beware of the Numbers Game

If any of you have ever been so lucky to attend a multi-level presentation or even better a pyramid scheme, you are well aware of the Numbers Game.   I always think about it when I recall an old Faberge Shampoo commercial where a women “tells 2 friends and they tell 2 friends and so on and so on and so on”.     A lot of times with referrals we think that if we have this base of clients and they can refer us, then we will have more clients who will refer us and so on and so on too.   But you know this isn’t what really happens in your business, does it?     If you think about where your referrals have really come from, no doubt a handful of people come to mind (if you are lucky)!   So why is it that some people refer us and some people don’t?   There are many factors that come into play that make someone a good referral source.

The most obvious factor is timing.   If someone has seen or heard from you recently and then a friend just happens to ask them if they know someone in your field, you have been the lucky recipient of timing.   This is why it’s so important that we stay in touch with people over an extended amount of time.   Timing also plays a role if a client is currently working with you or has experienced your product or service and has found it to be a tremendous experience!   While this enthusiasm level is at its highest, they will refer you usually more than once.

Natural Promoters
Some people can sell ice to the Eskimos.   These people will refer you more because its part of the natural personality.   Because they are naturally charismatic and enthusiastic others will listen and even get caught up in this enthusiasm.   When something YOU have done for them is the focus of their attention, the referrals are usually not far behind.

The Right Network
Other people have the right network.   Simply put they know the right people that need what you do.   Maybe they are a maternity nurse and you sell something for newborns, or maybe I’m a realtor and you run a moving a company.   Often we think that our clients MUST know others like themselves that need what you offer, but usually they are being very sincere when they say no one comes to mind.

What You Do Helps Your Referral Source
I know a mortgage broker who very cleverly made sure his mortgage calculator appeared on the websites of some local realtors.   It was very helpful for the realtors to have that calculator there and they knew he could also help them get that mortgage faster.   While certainly some of the aforementioned characteristics are also in play here, this little tool was also VERY helpful

Referring You is Easy
If someone finds it a “no-brainer” to refer you, they also will tend to be a stronger source of referrals.     I recall someone telling me that if I came across the right person, if I could just give them this spiel, and then collect their contact information and then write it in an email and send it to them, that would be great.     NOT!!!   Consider developing a small promotional piece, such as a special business card or postcard that you can distribute to these people.   If there is a time limited offer on the piece and the lead is qualified, then the offer should encourage them to take action.   This is much simpler for your referral sources and therefore much more reliable.

While these are key reasons that someone WILL refer you there are also some reasons why people don’t.   You need to make sure you address these as well.

  1. They are busy with their own careers and referring you just isn’t a priority.
  2. They really aren’t quite sure what you are looking for.
  3. They honestly don’t know anybody that is qualified…..right now.
  4. They actually weren’t overly-wowed by your offerings.
  5. They are worried about “giving up a name” in case you corner them into a sale.
  6. They feel responsible if things don’t go well.

While these lists are certainly not finite, they do highlight the intricacies you face with referral sources.     The good news is, when you find strategies to embrace both these strengths and concerns, you will discover the endless possibilities available to increase your overall number of referrals.

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Cidnee Stephen

about the author

Cidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success- a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget-minded small businesses and professional services. She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to finally achieve that next vital level of success. Cidnee is also a sought-after speaker, writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service based operations. Subscribe for Free to her bi-weekly marketing tips for small businesses and also receive a special report on the 7 Steps of Marketing Success. Follow on Google +


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