Service based businesses are always looking for more customers, more engagement, and more sales. They want to achieve their goals for the year, and they want a strong portion of those goals to come from word of mouth marketing and word of mouth referrals.  Because of that focus, I am often asked how quickly a company can grow their word of mouth marketing so that they ramp up referrals quickly and achieve a faster rate of sale.

The answer comes from an African Proverb, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”

Because word of mouth marketing and word of mouth referrals are all driven by relationships, and because word of mouth sales happen as one transaction at a time, we must focus on that one transaction, and if we do it right, then the customer, and the referral source, will continue to refer us.

I’ve always believed that more referrals come from non-customers than customers themselves.  It’s the non-customers that are often in a better position to refer your service based business to other people so that you can solve their problem.  It’s these relationships that take time to build. Just like eating an elephant would take time.  

When I owned my website agency, word of mouth referrals was a something I focused on.  During the last 4 years I owned the business, all new customer transactions came from referrals. However, that meant that the previous 12 years of running the company were filled with a mix of transactions that came from referrals and from marketing and advertising, aka paid sources.

Ideally, when you start a business, you’re spending a great deal of money on marketing and advertising, and that can pivot in the opposite direction within a few years.  The key to ensuring that this pivot is successful is to ensure that you continue to eat the elephant one bit at a time. If you stop eating, then no progress is made, and that will stall out your referral sources.  

Always remain in touch with your ideal referral sources.  That is part of the process, and the part that often doesn’t get enough credit.  It’s this step that truly drives referrals over time! Build the relationships with these folks so that they are the type of individuals that you would invite to your home for a cookout! These are the people you want to #High5!

Now…go eat your elephant!

Until next week…don’t forget…
Be Happy,
Smile A Lot,
And #High5 Everyone Around You