My advice if you read Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch is to understand going into it that you don't have to do everything he recommends. This book is full of so many great ideas that you need to focus on the ones that you think would work best for you and test them out. The number of ideas and tips can be overwhelming, but this also means there is no way you will walk away from reading this book without a few new ones.
The biggest lesson I took away was also his most general. Jantsch recommends that you make referrals a systematic part of your business procedures. That could mean checking in with clients regularly and asking them for referrals, training your sales people to ask during the sales cycle, or even printing something along the lines of "if you liked what we did for you, we'd appreciate your sending us a referral" on your invoices.
What I really liked, however, was his explanation of how social media can be part of your referral system. In fact, a lot of the book focuses on what most people would consider social media marketing. But Jantsch's view is that it's all part of the "referral engine." In essence, participating in social media -- whether by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, video or countless other examples he provides in the book - are ways to stay "top of mind" and engaged with clients who can be your main source of referrals.
Participating in social media also makes it easier for people to make referrals on your behalf. My recommendation is that the one thing you MUST do to beef up your referrals via social media is to create a complete and up-to-date LinkedIn profile.
Why? I can't tell you how many referrals I DON'T make simply because I can't link to someone's profile on LinkedIn. First, a LinkedIn profile gives people to whom I may be making a referral your background and oftenyour contact info, so it requires no explanation on my end, just a link. Easy! Second, for those of you who own businesses, I confess ... I meet a lot of people and I'm less likely to remember "Alliance Ventures Consulting" than I am your name. This means, I'm more likely to google your name, not your company's name. The best way to have your name come up in search engines will be via LinkedIn.
One thing I really liked about the book was that it provided some very good examples of low-tech ideas for low-tech businesses. Many of the marketing books these days are geared to online businesses. Referral Engine has ideas and examples for everyone, even those who work in the most low-tech businesses.
Daily Dose Bottom Line: No matter what your business, if you are stuck in your marketing plan or need ideas to jumpstart your sales, pick up this book ASAP! Just remember, don't get overwhelmed. Highlight a few ideas and start working them in to your business process. Then next month, go back and add in another and another and so on.
*Please note that I am phasing out my book reviews and am no longer accepting pitches.