Sunday, March 11, 2007

Week 29 - One Person Could Help Grow Your Business Overnight

There is amazing power in having your product or service endorsed by someone who already has your prospect’s trust. Put simply, there are many people in your life today that you would trust if they recommended something to you. It might be your local priest, your golf coach, a teacher or your next door neighbor. If you can find one of these “trusted” people that is respected by a large enough group of your potential prospects, then you have identified a very good center of influence.

Most business owners spend all of their marketing dollars trying to reach “cold prospects” that have not been previously conditioned to accept your company. Educating prospects through a trusted third party prior to your arrival will improve your conversion rate rapidly.

A centre of influence is far different to say, a mailing list that you can buy or rent. These lists of names have been compiled from various sources - some trusted, some not, some not even knowing how they ended up on the list! So you will not get the same effect from this method of contact.

Stop now and make a list of all Centers of Influence you can think of? You are looking for a central source that has the trust of a group of people.


  • Your family doctor could write to you endorsing the services of a local personal trainer.
  • A local community leader could write to households with children notifying them of a new child care centre that is built to new standards of excellence and run by trusted professionals.
  • A swimming club president could arrange a letter to all swimming clubs in the district on behalf of a trusted swimwear manufacturer, urging all clubs to purchase through them.
  • An accountant could write to their entire client base introducing an investment product provided by a trusted company.

Make sure you offer real value, not "ME TOO".

Centers of influence need to be used in conjunction with other marketing and advertising initiatives and should not be relied upon as your sole source of prospects. Every time we get onto a plane the airline endorses a rental car company, but because all of the airlines are doing the same thing and there are so many other ways to get a good deal, the program really lacks punch. Plus, in most cases, the relationship with the airline is not an intimate one.

Systematic Referral Programs

Many business owners say that their biggest source of sales or work is referrals, or that their reputation is what gets them all of their business, but how many work this source of leads proactively?

It is great to be proud of your record of providing a high quality service or product, but once again, you should not be relying on “chance” to get referrals. If you do a good job, people will talk and you will get referrals, but we are talking about being proactive, seeing every new customer as 1 new customer + 2 referrals. Put this equation into your employee handbook alongside the information on the lifetime value of customers:

Every customer I speak to or meet is potentially worth $X (insert your lifetime value figure) to our business over five years.

Each time we thrill a new customer, we will ask them to refer two customers of equal quality.

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