Saint Yourself Scratching Others’ Backs

Almost every small business I meet gets most of their clients from referrals. However, almost all of them agree that they’re not getting enough clients.

Well, I’m here to help speed up your lead pipeline. There are 5 ways that I get referrals that I think you might find useful.

The first way to get a referral is through your existing clients. They think you’re the cat’s meow because hellooooooooo-they’re already working with you! Your clients’ success is a cause for celebration and what better way to celebrate than to suggest they tell others about how well they’re doing?

The second way to get referrals is to niche properly. In other words, when people actually understand and are able to remember exactly who you help and what you help them do, you will get more referrals.

The third way to get referrals is to send a thousand thank yous. When you do get referrals, recognize them in some significant way. Nobody HAS to refer you or remember your name or even take the trouble of forwarding your information to anyone. They do so because they believe you can help their friend. Don’t take it for granted.

The fourth way to get referrals is to Do Onto Others. This is a version of ‘you scratch my back and –well you get the idea…’ in reverse. You MAKE it your business to help those who have connections to your ideal clients and everybody wins. Remember never to expect anything in return and almost Saint yourself referring your heart off to everyone else. I guarantee you will get more referrals if you give more referrals.

The fifth and last way I get referrals is to actually have a cross referral program which tells ideal joint venture partners up front that I can actually provide them with a gift for thinking of me to refer to first. The last bit of advice about referrals is about follow-up. If you aren’t following up your referrals properly, you’re missing an obvious opportunity but you’re also letting down your referring partner. So pull up your follow-up socks and don’t forget to wine, dine and drop a line to your referrals.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Are You Jumping In To Your Marketing?

I was walking down the street at lunch today and saw the sad story of so many failed businesses on my way. Upended barber’s chairs in an abandoned hair salon, dusty stones lined along a chiropractic pain clinic storefront, the local Blockbusters I used to haunt obsessively when I was young and single and DVD rentals still existed.

It was a poignant reminder that as a small business owner, I’m among a growing population of people who are at all times facing the loss of my livelihood. I mean, the statistics certainly bear that out when they claim that 50-70% of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. What’s a gal to do?

Take A Step Back

When I asked “are you looking for new clients” to a million dollar accounting firm I met yesterday, the partner said “Of course! We’re always looking for new clients”. When I asked him what they’re doing to market themselves, he said “Oh, we’re hiring a new social media person”. I then asked him who his bull’s eye target was and he said the CEOs of $5 million companies. I then sadly regaled him with the statistic that only 47% of CEOs participate in social media. He was surprised.

Before you decide on a marketing tactic, make sure you have a strategy in place. This huge firm had no idea of how to reach their ideal client.

Shed The Fears

Truth be told, the partner I spoke to didn’t even really want to narrow down his marketing to one niche market, saying he’d run the risk of losing his other business if he concentrated on just one industry. He then admitted that changing an accountant is worse than changing your doctor and businesses rarely do it. How would current clients even know that you’re doing a keynote at an industry association that’s unrelated to his, it’s a ridiculous fear.

Spend Where The Fish Are

When you figure out that it’s the most strategic thing to pick one group of people to grow your business with first, then figure out how to get them to notice you. That of course means, spend your money where they’re frequenting. Be where they are. Lavish attention on their problems.

Be Relevant

No matter what, make sure that your marketing dollars are of value to THEM. Each spent dollar should be in the form of a solution to your audience. For example, you should invest in a trade show booth and give them free advice at their industry conference. Spend money on creating a DVD or a booklet to address their frequently asked questions and spend money on getting it to them. This is the only way you’ll be relevant to them.

Stop jumping into your marketing. Think about why you’re doing it and what it will do for your business. Ask yourself if you’re in front of your ideal target client group. Then ask THEM if your marketing is even relevant to them.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Marketing Advice For A Traffic-less Deli Franchise

Enjoy my first taping of the regular radio segment I host on The Small Business Big Ideas Show called Ask Chala For Some Gentle Marketing Advice (see recording at the 14:25 minute mark).

Listen in as a restaurant franchise owner in a mall writes in his Gentle Marketing question about how to generate business in a dead mall with no foot traffic.

The Gentle Marketing solution to this restaurant’s pain of course is first to be known for something. What is the franchise known for?

Host David Cohen replies that it’s a chain known for its healthy food offerings.

I then ask who would be interested in driving to a mall if they’re not already walking in the mall for this food. Logically, the answer would be health conscious people who can’t find a certain kind of food, service or event in the near vicinity to meet their specific needs.

I make a suggestion for the owner of the restaurant to get out and drive in his neighbourhood to see what health related food, competition, activities and other businesses there are that he could partner with.

The segment ends with a clear direction for action to do something related to health and health food. Potentially partnering with other vendors who deal with this target group or holding events related to health like educational seminars to draw them in to the location.

So you can see that everything starts with clarity. If you know what your business stands for (health) and who your perfect client is (clients in the area who care about taking care of their health). The rest is easy…

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Listen To My ‘Gentle Marketing’ Radio Interview

Are you a shy marketer? Do you hate in-your-face-marketing? Don’t you think it’s 100% better to have clients be attracted to YOU? I believe so strongly in this topic that I wrote a book on it (coming in May!)

Listen to my hilarious radio interview with BizRadio and BizTV host David Wojcik on this topic of marketing on a shoestring budget while being authentic, attractive and generous.

It’s all about being clear on who you are as a business, who your ideal bullseye target customer is and how to get in front of them with the right message. It’s also virtually free because you were born with the best marketing tool and that’s your personality.

Picking the right niche is also free since all it takes is talking to your potential target groups to find out if you offer something of value to them.

Once you get those two things right, then you ask them where they hang out and go hang out with them! Simple, isn’t it?

I want you too to be a Gentle Marketer. It’s easy, cheap and best of all, it’s effortless.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Uncomfortable Marketing?

If you feel sleazy and dirty when you think about marketing yourself, listen to this interview I did with Money Coach Flo Grunfelder about how to get over the discomfort of marketing and to joyfully connect with great paying clients.

Most businesses fall into their marketing, no planning, no communication strategy. The secret is to first pick a viable niche and to become a credible expert in that niche. Get clear on your this and you’ve got the start of an easy peasy way to market your business. Also, have a ‘depressing thought’ strategy to overcome your gremlins. This is a big mistake that small businesses make when they’re starting out. Lastly, get a coach. I am a coach and I’ll always have a coach. Couldn’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to either.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!