People receive a lot of mail, and even more email, so getting someone to open your message, read it and perpetuate a referral selling framework is a great trick. If they knew you, they might be willing to open it, but since they don’t, you generally pick one approach:

  1. Mail someone a piece of paper, or send them an email that tells them all about how great your company and your services are, and hope that they’ll open and read it.
  2. Put up a website telling people how great your company and your services are, and hope people will discover it.
  3. Practice referral selling. Have someone you know tell people they know how great your company and your services are, and hope they’ll listen to their friend.

There are obvious challenges to each of these approaches. Even with all the magic of search engine optimization and email marketing, getting people to visit yours out of all the millions of websites is a huge challenge. Even when they do find you, how do they know they can trust you?

But then there’s personal referral selling. Your friend has credibility with their friend, and when they endorse you to them the only thing that might stop them from contacting you is if they really have no current need for your services. Seems like much better odds, right?

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That’s why referral selling has always been the most powerful form of marketing. A 2014 survey from Ogilvy, Google and TNS cited that word of mouth played a 74 percent role in consumer’s decisions, followed by retailers, social media and company websites. Paired with word of mouth, the study also found that consumers were driven by the purpose of the brand or product.

So, it’s clear that referrals are at the heart of marketing strategy. But how do you get enough of them?

Leveraging the Power of Referrals

Marketing used to be all about putting your message out there and getting as many people as possible to notice it.

Today, that’s all but impossible. With millions of marketers emailing and posting and tweeting and littering the web with websites, it’s a real challenge rise above all the noise. Smart marketers no longer even try to rise above the noise. Instead, they cut right through it!

How? By encouraging their existing readers to pass their information along to their associates: customers, partners, suppliers and even competitors. This can be paired with Girard’s Law of 250; retail sales guru Joe Girard developed a theory that “250 was a kind of magic number for the average person. All of us have about 250 people who would come to our funeral or wedding.” To a marketing professional, this symbolizes 250 potential referrals for your product, and that losing one customer is potentially another 250 walking away from your business.

Let’s say that Girard is correct. If you have only 250 people inside your community of loyal and satisfied customers, they could potentially refer you to as many as 62,500 other people. If all those people came to like you, just one more iteration and you’re talking to 15,625,000 potential customers.

Of course, nobody gets a 100 percent referral rate but play with the numbers a little. If only 1 percent of your existing customer base steps up, that’s 625 more contacts — still a significant number!

Cutting Through the Noise

The fact is that the best way to reach somebody has always been through somebody else they know. Referrals have always been the most effective, most powerful way to grow your customer community. Today’s strongest marketers know that, and have embraced it into their most effective and powerful new strategies. They accelerate and amplify the growth of their community by routinizing and automating the process of obtaining referrals.

When one of your customers forwards your email to a friend, they immediately cross the first hurdle of email marketing. Since their friend knows them, they will almost certainly open the email. That alone is huge. Here are a few tips on how to get across that threshold:

  • Your call-to-action (CTA) for the referred contact is very simple and painless. Just click here to add yourself to our email list. No commitment, no fuss.
  • You don’t have to rise above all the other emails to get noticed. Automation can help leverage the familiarity of your customer’s name to the new prospect to cut through all that noise.

This same threshold applies to web marketing. When one of your customers sends your URL to a friend recommending that they check it out, you have just bypassed all the SEO, all the social media messages and all the other strategies others implement to get people to their website. You’ve gained a new and enthusiastic visitor.

The Samsung Team of Empowered Partners (STEP) gives access to a wide range of tools to help you routinize and automate referral marketing to cut through the noise and reach your audience.

The Partner Marketing Hub has a wealth of such resources. Visit the Samsung Partner Portal today to learn more.

Posts By

Howard M. Cohen

Senior Resultant Howard M. Cohen is a 30+ year executive veteran of the Information Technology industry who continues his commitment to the channel as writer, presenter, and advisor to many channel partners, ISVs, MSPs, CSPs, manufacturers, distributors and more. Howard is a frequent speaker at IT industry events that include Microsoft's WorldWide Partner Conference, Citrix Synergy/Summit, ConnectWise IT Nation, ChannelPro Forums, Cloud Partners Summit, MicroCorp One-On-One, and CompTIA ChannelCon.

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