Have you ever wanted to create a referral network so you did not have to spend hours cold-calling or networking to build your client base? A good referral network can dramatically drive down the cost of customer acquisition (CAC). Many think that simply profiling their prospects is the magic bullet, but understanding your target isn’t enough. You must take the information you have gleaned about those who have the potential to purchase your product and interact with them on multiple levels by:
- social media
- live virtual meetings
- Chatter in their own industry (or “tribes” of like-minded consumers)
Many experts agree that the latter is the most powerful of all the communication avenues, as it lends more credibility to the message itself. When others are chattering about your offerings, no longer are the words touting the greatness of your products and services coming from your own mouth. Rather, it’s other people who your future clients know and trust presenting your message to them. This method carries far more weight as a trusted source of information. No one does this better than Apple! It’s cool to own their products and they get an A for brand loyalty. Ask a Mac user about their iPhone or MacBook and listen to them chatter all about it.
Think about the last time you purchased service or item that was recommended by others. It’s one of the keys to Amazon’s success. On every product page we can look and see what others think about it, and that helps us make our decision. And it’s not just Amazon; look to Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Chewy’s as other examples. Some consumers won’t even purchase a dog toy without knowing what the ratings and reviews are.
Does that mean you should not interact with prospects via the other mentioned avenues? Is email dead? No, of course not. We need the other methods and their avenues to reach our prospects. The other avenues support and reassure the messages that your prospects are hearing about. The chatter about your message can’t happen if people have nothing to talk about. So, for each of these areas, you must have a well-defined plan as to how often you will connect and what you plan to discuss, ask, advertise, or educate about.
You also need to be consistent in order to build trust. This means that if every Friday you write a blog post on social media, you must do so every Friday—no exceptions. People will come to expect and rely on your timely information.
Lastly, if you arrange to meet virtually or in person, keep the appointment at all costs. You are in the trust-building business when you are in prospecting mode.
The last thing you need is negative chatter; no one buys the product or service with a single-star rating.