Understanding your customer or client’s lifecycle and mapping their touch points is the key to generating a consistent flow of referrals.

Referrals happen, thank goodness, but for too many, they happen randomly, almost accidentally.

One of the keys to tapping the systematic generation of referrals is to identify and address the touch points that add up to lead a customer or client to the logical and emotional decision that your business is referable.

Every person, place, and thing in your business that comes into contact with a prospect or a customer or client is performing a marketing function. Your business referability is being decided by the sum total of those contacts.

You may create a referral kit that includes a white paper, article, a link to a webinar or video, or something of value that you show to your referral sources and that you will provide to the prospect. This kit helps your referral sources to understand more about your products and services. It also is more tangible than someone just referring you to someone just because they want to gain points or rewards from their networking organization. Always make sure that the recipient would value the information include in the referral kit.

It’s so important to determine the critical stages involved in developing a customer or client and then fill in the gaps in every contact and by fill, I mean, make sure that every contact is a marketing contact, that includes delivery, customer service, and even billing.

The 7 Stages and logical touch points along this referral life cycle look something like this.

  1. Know – People get to know your business from your ads, articles, and referral sources
  2. Like – People began to like you more by consistent repetition through your web site, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and email newsletter
  3. Trust – People start to trust you more by seeing your marketing kit, case studies, white papers you created, and sales or marketing conversations
  4. Trial – You provide an experience of working with you will be like through Webinars, evaluations, sample (discovery) sessions, and other nurturing activities
  5. Core – Having a method for fulfillment, new customer or client kit, on time delivery, and financial arrangements like credit terms
  6. Repeat – Following up by using a Post customer survey, by cross selling, upselling, and periodic events or promotions you stay in front of them.
  7. Refer – Providing results from the reviews, introducing partners, providing peer to peer webinars, and community building all work to foster engagement with your business

Create a diagram consisting of the stages above and map out every touch point you have or should have before you ever start dreaming about a world flooded with referrals.

I like to ask people for introductions rather than referrals?

This is much less stressful on them. When I am given a person to contact, I inform the person that is making the introduction that I am only contacting the person in order to find out if they need my products or services. Since the person who introduced me may not have used my products or services, they cannot refer me.

I also have an article that would be useful for the prospect that I can send them prior to contacting them or as a follow up to a conversation.  Another idea is to have testimonials from your customers or clients that a prospect can relate to. I find that in order to get testimonials, I usually have to write the testimonial and ask the customer or client to approve it and put it on their letterhead.

Put your method for referral generation into a set of steps and your results will improve.