Thursday, September 9, 2010

Small Business Tip - Referrals and Ambassadors

Here's more wisdom from my friend Harold Larson of Visiam ...........

“Referrals” - We hear the word all the time! It is true that in the age of communication, we must compete with the background noise of the internet, social networking and blogs, so any path that can usher your message to a potential customer is a cool breeze on a hot day. So today, I would like to introduce the concept of creating ambassadors as referral engines.

“Ambassadors” will look for opportunities to sell your services because they have a deep understanding of your value proposition and who you are. This is more than a satisfied customer that will passively endorse your product, give you a lead or act as a reference if it is convenient.

Granted many of your professional relationships do not have the profile or comfort zone to “sell” your services, however a positive comment or a recommendation from an introvert to one of your relationships could be understood as screaming your “value” from a mountain top!

So what creates Ambassadors and what fuels their participation in your success?

First, you should mirror the activity you would like to create or see in your ambassadors, by:

• Providing robust introductions - in a way that jump starts a personal and professional relationship so that they might afford you the same.

• Understanding their business – by respecting their opinion and professional journey to invite that same amount of interest in yours.

• Acknowledging their Achievements - and celebrate their successes so that they could take credit for yours.

Second, develop an offering that is of value specific to their relationships and not necessarily for them. If they receive a “thank you” from the relationship they referred to you based on their satisfaction with your product or services, it will fuel their desire to remain your ambassador.

Conclusion –Networking events, LinkedIn, blogs, chambers, industry associations are all part of the playing field. But it gets crowded!

My question: What could be so personal/priceless/valuable that would cause you to introduce me to your inner circle? Now you can start down the path to offer the same.