Word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most potent forms of marketing available and making this connection work for you at events like the Curry Club can make it even more valuable. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues are still the most influential for gaining business.

84% of global respondents across 58 countries to a Nielsen 2003 online survey said this source was the most trustworthy. Although up 9% since 2007, trust in websites is the next highest at 69% and 68% of respondents trusted opinions posted online, up 7% from 2007. How can you make the most potent form of marketing; referrals, work for your business? Jane Harrad-Roberts gives us 28 ideas.

  1. Do you know anyone else who might need our services?
  2. Is there anyone you know who may be interested in ….?
  3. Do you know anyone with similar issues to those we’ve solved for you? Do you know anyone else we could help?
  4. I believe we’ve delivered what you needed from us. Who else do you know (outside your sector) who would benefit in the same way?
  5. How have other people you know dealt with this problem?
  6. Are any of your business contacts expressing dissatisfaction with their existing suppliers of our type of service?
  7. We are always interested in potential projects, have you got any developing situations with which we can help?
  8. We’ve built a lot of experience in this area now, so if you know of anyone who would be interested / needs help I’d be delighted to talk to them.
  9. Do you have any colleagues to whom we should speak about our products and services?
  10. We occasionally give briefings and send out mailings. Who do you know who would be interested in receiving them?
  11. We are in the process of updating our mailing lists.  We only want to send information out to relevant people.  Do you know anyone who you think should be on it?
  12. We are trying to build up a wider number of contacts for our marketing activities. Do you know of anyone I might speak to?
  13. I know you are also involved with other companies. Would it be useful for me to present to them too?
  14. We are constantly developing our business so would you be a reference to a new client?  Incidentally, are there any situations you know of where we could help?
  15. Would you mind if I passed your name on to my clients, and perhaps you could do the same?
  16. Are you pleased with our services? Have you mentioned our name to any other organisations?
  17. We are concentrating our efforts on this type of work.  I’m sure you must know of others.
  18. (If you are confident your services are good) I don’t believe we’ve ever had any referrals from you. Is there any reason for this?
  19. Do you ever get the opportunity to meet other people in your field to whom you could introduce us?
  20. If you give us an introduction to any organisation that becomes a client, I may be able to give you a reduction in your fees. Does this interest you?
  21. Do you remember that work you put us forward for?  It was x years ago, have you any more like that? It was just the kind of work we were looking for.
  22. Can you think of anyone else that we could do work for?
  23. We are looking to expand, I’m sure you are aware of others whom we could approach.
  24. You’re happy with what we’re doing, we get on well together, who else do you know who would benefit from working with us?
  25. One of my objectives is that you will be so happy with our services that you’d recommend us in the future.
  26. We are working together because ‘Alex’ introduced us; can I ask who else you know …?
  27. Much of our work comes via referrals, who do you know …?
  28. Who do you bank with?  / Who are your lawyers? (with a view to approaching their other clients)

Jane Harrad-Roberts is the Managing Director of London and Chester based Marketing PRojects and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. More information and more ideas on winning business, with downloadable helpful hints & tips at www.marketingprojects.co.uk/contact

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