Developing a Referral Program

Aren’t you tired of lead “relationships” that go nowhere? Try developing a referral program

How well do your friends and family know you? If I had to wager on it I’d say pretty well. They likely even have a direct line into what products, services (or even dates) might be good for you. But instead of tapping into the power of already established relationships by developing a referral program you only use technology like marketing automation (or dating sites) to track down a lead (match) who might be looking for what you have to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is an amazing asset, but you have to be critical of the data it’s using to provide you with those leads. While you may capture a large quantity of leads, only part of the time do they end up resulting in highest quality leads.

Research shows that leads generated from referrals convert 4x better than leads coming from other sources. When considering whether or not developing a referral program is right for your business think about the juxtaposition of a friend suggesting someone to date compared to a dating website matching you up. I know from experience, one works better than the other.

The referred date versus the non-referred date

Fall 2012, I was dating a perfectly nice guy I’d met on a dating site, let’s call him Stan. Like many leads you acquire, he looked wonderful on paper. However, I had no feelings for him. The reality of the situation was, I was looking for a dating demographic that didn’t equal what I wanted to get out of the relationship. After a few weeks of meeting and communicating here and there the relationship fizzled out.

Now during that same period of time one of my dear friends, let’s call her Rose, had started a relationship with someone new and insisted that I should let her set me up with her roommate. Unfortunately, I’m chronically stubborn and refused at first because I didn’t think I needed to be set up. Like many businesses, I didn’t understand the value of a referral or developing a referral program.

A week or so passes and I’m on my university campus, sitting under a tree and playing with leaves when a man walks up to me, let’s call him Eric, and asks me, “How can you be so happy just playing with leaves?”

Honestly, I don’t remember how I answered but he ended up sitting down with me and talking. Before he walked away he gave me his number and I gave him mine.

Weeks pass and nothing happens. Stan and I stop seeing each other. Then, sometime in October I get a Facebook friend request from Eric. I accept and he immediately messages me.

“Did you know Rose tried to set us up?”

He was the same guy that I had refused to go out with. Now you should know I’m a very cautious dater. I won’t go out with anyone to a club, let them drive me, or tell them where I live until we’ve been dating a period of time. But when he asked me out for a date I ended up breaking every rule. While this guy seemed nice, it was the fact that my friend told me how good a guy he was which made me trust him. I trusted her so therefore I trusted him. On that first date he came to my house, picked me up, and took me to a club.

We’ve been in a wonderful relationship for almost three years now. I guess you could say he was a quality lead.

The benefits of a new referral program and an old fashion matchmaker

Imagine, what if you could automate that same referral process to get a high number of potential customers to bypass their usual buying habits based off the trust of an already established relationship? By developing a referral program, you can.

But it’s not only my experience that supports the value of developing a referral program. Research shows that:

  • Customers are 400% more likely to buy a product when it’s referred by someone they know.
  • 83% of customers are happy to refer a business after a positive experience if asked but…only 29% do refer.
  • Customers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising.
  • Referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value.

Through developing a referral program your business will build a network of advocates that will optimize the referral process to drastically increase your quality leads with a lower cost per lead than other marketing tactics. Take a quick and easy referral quiz to see if developing a referral program is the right move to get you the high-quality leads (or dates) you’ve been searching for.