Monday, December 13, 2010

20 Entrepreneurs Share How They Get Referrals

Dan Janal has a great post on his PR LEADS blog for referral generation:

For my new book on how to get more leads and referrals, I asked my followers for tips. Here are the answers. If you’d like to suggest your ideas, please click this link and I’ll send you a copy of the electronic version of the book — plus you get great publicity!


1. Referrals By Writing Answers To Questions

I answer questions at www.allexperts.com and get at least four new contacts for my contact list every day.
I can show off my expertise and people who would never do a search learn about me and what I offer.
During the seven years that I have been writing for the site I have earned at least two new corporate
contracts a year that I would never have had otherwise.

Thanks to Cynthia Lett of The Lett Group

2. The Power Of Social Networking, Or, How Bad Sinuses Helped Me Land A Board Position

Earlier this year I decided to follow some marketing advice that I read a while back. The article said that our service providers like doctors, dentists, and others don’t know what kind of work we do unless we tell them.

I followed up diligently and looked for my doctors on Facebook, with the intent of connecting with them to request referrals. Much to my surprise, I found the doctor who performed my sinus surgery in 2008.

This person had exactly four friends on Facebook at that time and I actually knew one of them! The man I recognized worked at GE when I was an engineer there in 1984. I contacted this former co-worker via Facebook and received a very enthusiastic response. In fact, he was so enthusiastic that he invited me to join the board of directors for a local nonprofit technology group.

I never thought in all these forty-plus years of having lousy sinuses that my condition would lead to a board position. That is the power of social networking.

Thanks to Monica Johns of Clarity Management Consulting

3. Don’t Spam. Look, Listen, And Read Before You Send.

Journalists and bloggers are overwhelmed with p.r. spam and inappropriate pitches. Alienate one of them, and they can do something worse than ignoring you: they can publish a denunciation that may live forever as one of the first things people find when they search for your name. Before you call, e-mail, or send a message on Twitter to a journalist or blogger, familiarize yourself with what they write about, and how, to make sure your pitch is appropriate. Different journalists and bloggers have different preferences. Look for a “How To Pitch me Page” or the like on their Web site, or instructions on their contact page about how they prefer to be contacted. If there’s nothing explicit, look at their home page and read the last few entries and the category labels in their blog. Beware of purchased or rented media lists or media directories — even the “reputable” ones include inaccurate, unverified information scraped from the Web.

Thanks to Edward Hasbrouck of Hasbrouck.org

4. Consistent Quality Content

Consistently Tweet and post high quality content that your target market needs and values and leads and referrals will follow.

Thanks to Martin Soorjoo of Investor Pitch Clinic LLC

5. Less Is More

Way too many people have very short attention spans. If content does not grab within a short time period (ranging from a few seconds to 2 minutes), the reader exits. So this tip is to make the message meaningful in as few words as possible WITH the opportunity for the reader to ask for more. In addition, make sure images do not dominate the page and hide the content of your message.

Thanks to Richard Oppenheim of gettingyoupastgo.com

6. Stop Wasting Valuable Networking Time

I use HappyGrasshopper.com to automate my relationship marketing. They keep in touch with all the contacts I make that don’t have an obvious direct path to the sale. These are the people I meet at networking events and parties but that don’t really fit on my email newsletter list because they aren’t interested in my products. Once or twice a month, Happy Grasshopper sends them a message from “me”. (My contacts will never know!)

Before reading any further, look at the corner of your desk. Is there a pile of business cards there? No? Check your drawers, pockets or glove box. Those cards belong to the hundreds of people you have smiled for, chatted with, listened to, and vowed to follow up with – BUT DIDN’T – because you don’t have time to stay in touch with people who aren’t likely to buy. Happy Grasshopper does a good job of keeping in touch for me and it’s really inexpensive too – just $19 a month. Hope this helps…

Best,

Dan Stewart

Thanks to Dan Stewart of Happy Grasshopper

7. Use A Service Like Reporter Connection To Get Leads On Fresh Content

I use Reporter Connection as an expert looking for publicity, and also as a journalist looking for experts. I learned a long time ago that the only way to acquire loyal customers on the Internet was to establish trust by consistently publishing quality content. Anyone that has ever kept a blog knows that creating good content for a long period of time can be hard.

I have had great success generating good content by interviewing struggling business owners who have vowed never to quit. And how do I find all those struggling business owners you might ask? I posted a journalist query on Reporter Connection, in which I asked for feedback from people that have succeeded in life and business by vowing to never quit. The query generated over 60 good leads.

Doing the interviews has not only gotten me good and original content, but it has helped me to establish a great relationship with the people I interviewed. I firmly believe that we can only succeed by first helping others.

Thanks to Sara Morgan of Custom Solutions

8. Landing Page Link Love

Instead of having your single Twitter link go to your website home page, or blog home page, send it to a unique landing page. Use a similar approach for FB and LI. Because each site will attract a different potential customer, you can customize your landing page to their unique characteristics and needs. Even better, start split testing to see which landing page for each social media channel gets the best results.

Thanks to Nicole Fende of Small Business Finance Forum

9. Business Networking Program At Church In Sacramento

A friend and I started a Business Networking Program at our church, Spiritual Life Center in Sacramento CA. We meet monthly with each guest sharing information about their business. We are also in the process of developing an on-line directory of all of the business people. We then plan to put together a printed directory so the members of our church look first at the directory when they need services. Marie Wilson, Wellness Coach. Website: www.MarieWilson.Info.

Thanks to Marie Wilson of Wilson Enterprises, Inc.

10. Getting Leads By Participating In Forums

Only respond when you can add something new to the conversation. When you leave a comment, lead with your strength. For example, if you have new research findings, use those in your answer. If you’re good at diagnosing a problem, start there. Result: you’ll be known for something specific, instead of just being smart. Folks there will then know how to refer (or work with you.) There’s a difference between being helpful and showing your brand.

Thanks to Vickie Sullivan of Sullivan Speaker Services Inc.

11. Anchor Your Keywords For More Traffic To Your Website.

The best tip I learned from Barbara Rozgonyi was to use your main keyword phrase within the headline and body of a press release. If you create an anchor link for that phrase that links back to your website, it increases the traffic to your site for that keyword phrase.

Gail Doby, ASID, is a Business Shortcut. She helps busy Interior Designers build a more profit and passion-filled business. Gail is an NCIDQ certified designer with more than 20 years of experience in estate home construction and renovation.

Thanks to Gail Doby of Design Success University

12. Find The Pain; Create Customer Gain!

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter provide search capabilities that let you zero in on the topic(s) in which you are an expert. Use these tools to narrow the field, then review the results returned. Look for conversations where you can help a person with a question or who may have a problem creating pain for them/their business. Then, give your best help without selling.

When you respond in ways that acknowledge their pain and provide viable solutions [without selling], your professional expertise and generosity speak for you. Louder than any marketing message you might send.

The more you do this, the more your reputation for being a go-to person on that subject will spread. For every person who asks a question on LinkedIn for example, hundreds have the same question and just haven’t asked it yet. You can answer those questions. Similarly, you can reply to others’ questions on Twitter and Facebook in a helpful way. Answer once and post it on all 3 sites for even more coverage!

Thanks to Linda Lopeke of SMARTSTART

13. Join A Cause And Help Others

Think about how good you feel when you’re able to help another person or be part of something bigger than yourself. Get referrals by inviting people into a mission of service. You can ask members of your “tribe” to help you help others by identifying those who could benefit from your content. For example, my new Pain Stompers system helps people make a positive difference when someone they care about is in pain–whether physical, emotional or financial pain. At the end of the blog posts, press releases or newsletter articles– with social media links– I say, “Do you know anyone trying to figure out the best way to help? Please forward this post to them and invite them to my site for more.”

Thanks to Vicki Rackner of Www.DrVickiRackner.com

14. Dive In!

You won’t get results from LinkedIn by sitting on the edge of the pool. Join as many LinkedIn groups that fit your target audience. Then become an active participant in discussions. Start discussions that will be of interest to your audience, and give you a chance to share your expertise. Always give value. People will get to know your face, and you will be perceived as a valuable resource. Wouldn’t you rather do business with someone you know? Dive in and put LinkedIn to work for you!

Thanks to Pam Alexandra of Positive Action Coaching

15. Include More Than The Simple Facts For Your Twitter Profile

Want to have lots of Twitter followers? I have almost 24,000. Make sure your profile includes your photo to show you are a real person. Also what do you want the reader steps to take with you and your business? Tell them. My profile includes my name, location (important) and website and I say, “Communications Expert, Author, Information Marketer, Publisher. I love to help writers. Let me know how I can help YOU!” I’m inviting direct interaction. Plus I use TweetAdder as an affordable twitter-building tool: http://budurl.com/wtwadd It is easy to use and automates much of the drudgery of it.

Thanks to Terry Whalin of terrywhalin.com

16. Gain Topic Mastery Through A Targeted LinkedIn Group

Creating a LinkedIn Group on your specific area of expertise can work dramatically to bring attention to your business — whether on a local or global level. Start discussions on a variety of related topics and be sure to recognize and acknowledge new members and respondents. I encourage them to add their expertise or ask questions to the group to generate interaction. The more targeted your group name, the more likely you’ll attract serious hot prospects or JV partners for future ventures. Be sure to respond to the discussions and actively contribute your insights to the group. Through my Child-Centered Divorce LinkedIn group I’ve made many new business connections, new partners to collaborate with and sold new trainings as well as products — around the world. This is easy 24-hour marketing that works to the degree that YOU work it!

Thanks to Rosalind Sedacca of Child-Centered Divorce

17. Catching Your Clients Comments Before They Leave!

I think the best way to use the internet is by making your blog accessible for your clients. I will be starting a blog available right in my office for clients to comment on after their massage. They will more likely refer people to the site as well as visit themselves when they have writtten something personal.

Thanks to Ethelyn Hinrichs of AhhSpaMassage

18. Getting More From Each Of Your Leads

While most businesses focus on getting more leads, and let’s face it that’s a major way to grow your business, most overlook a simple strategy that can increase your profits without increasing the size of your customer-base.

The more focused your niche, and the more closely-tailored your products are to that niche, the more money you can charge. Let me give you a highly simplified example:

Marketing Guide: $9.00
Marketing Guide for Realtors: $29.00
Marketing Guide for Vacation Residence Realtors: $129.00
Marketing Guide for Beach Front Vacation Residence Realtors: $329.00
Marketing Guide for Miami Beach Front Vacation Residence Realtors: $929.00

You get the idea. This concept can be applied to any marketing niche you care to name and it is the secret to attracting more customers who are looking for exactly what you’re selling, and who are prepared to pay a high price fro what you have on offer.

Thanks to Patricia Skinner of ISpeakSEO

19. Listen To Your Audience

One of the best ways to use social media is to LISTEN to your audience. Instead of telling others to check out your latest blog post or visit your website, it’s more effective to build a relationship first. Compliment someone on their article or ask them a question about their website.

I did this and it led to my Exit Planning column on AllBusiness.com. Feel free to take a look at my articles in the Exit Planning section or visit my website on www.ExitPlanPros.com/blog for timely information on how to grow and exit your business.

-Gary T Brooks

GaryTBrooks@ExitPlanPros.com

www.ExitPlanPros.com/blog

GROW your business while PLANNING your exit.

Thanks to Gary Brooks of Exit Plan Pros

20. Using The Facebook Notes Feature To Generate Unexpected Referrals

One specific strategy we use to generate referrals is by taking advantage of facebook’s notes feature. Using notes allows us to automatically feature actionable content on our wall (speaking opportunities). This kind of content encourages our “fans” to check back often to see if an opportunity is right for them. If they decide to dig deeper they will find that a membership is required to submit an application. What we’ve discovered is that even if the speaker is not a good fit for a job opportunity we’re announcing, our fans will often refer a colleague who may be a better fit to check out the details. These referrals have led to new customers we might not have had otherwise. How to: On your fan page go to the “notes” section (located at the top and sometimes hidden from plain view). You will then see an option to “edit import settings.” All you have to do is enter in your rss feed and click save. You can see this in action at http://www.facebook.com/SpeakerMatch.

Thanks to Paul Ellul of SpeakerMatch


Please click here to read the original article.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information of Harding & Associates Family Law

No comments:

Tech Is Gonna Help You to Know Your Judge

To this day -- 30 years later -- I remember a story my law school civil procedure professor told us about his first attorney job. 20 years...