4 Reasons Why Referrals Make Great Business Sense

Referrals. Gold for your business.

With the popularity of Facebook and online forums, establishing a good referral system is essential to your business prospecting activities.

Yet, when working with clients we are often surprised that many do not have a formal strategy in place.

Not having a referral strategy in place for your business is leaving money on the table.

Different Kinds of Referrals

Developing your strategy begins by being conscious of the power of referrals.

The more expensive something is going to be, the more likely referrals are to be the deciding factor.

This does not mean that more expensive is necessarily better. Rather it means the decision is more measured when it comes to items at a higher price point.

Similarly, when putting our trust in someone to handle things that are very personal to us…like our health. Or haircuts. Special occasions that will not be repeated.

Two of the main types of referrals are:

1) Online Reviews

How often do you check the online reviews on TripAdvisor when you’re in a new town? or on Facebook when you’re thinking of using a business for the first time?

I’m willing to bet you do that quite a lot! Am I right?

2) Personal Recommendations

When was the last time you went to a restaurant because a friend kept on raving how great the food or the service was?

Have you ever asked a family member/friend to recommend a reliable plumber/electrician to take care of your dripping taps or broken fans?

I do this on a regular basis because good tradies are hard to find!

Similarly, doctors, dentists, web designers, accountants and a myriad of other professionals.

The Trust Factor

If you’re like me, then you probably like to give your business to, and place your trust in, someone that comes recommended by somebody you know and trust.

When you’re new to a place, or looking for a service for the first time where do you look before making a decision?

These last few months I’ve been spending a lot of time in a new location – Bribie Island – I’ve found a hairdresser, a masseur as well as my airconditioning installer and electrician all through referrals.

Most of these referrals came from online recommendations in a local community group Facebook page. I then did my own due diligence and checked out their websites and also the profiles of the reviewers.

If you’re in business your online profile deserves your attention because you never know when you’ll be ‘snooped’ by a potential client.

Referrals definitely work!

Referral strategies need to have a key place in your business.

Even more so now that there is so much happening out there in the social media landscape. Tapping into that landscape is GOLD.

4 key benefits to your business

1 ) Customer acquisition costs are minimal.

Your happy customers are doing the marketing for you.

Of course, this only happens if you give good service and are attentive to your customers’ needs.

This means going above and beyond what is expected.

2) Customer retention rate is higher.

If people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you.

However, you also need to remain front of mind, so it’s important to maintain contact via a strategic communications plan.

3) The marketplace is crowded.

There is so much going on out there in “internet land.”It makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult.

Who better than to recommend and refer you than happy clients/customers?

Remember, we value the advice and recommendations of our friends.

4) Conversion rates are generally higher.

A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer for you.

Spotting a potential referral opportunity

The old adage that an unhappy customer will tell everyone and a happy customer usually won’t say anything much is definitely true.

What this boils down to is this…

Communication.

You need to make the ASK.

1) Ask your customer to spread the good word about your business.

2) Be quite specific in your ask.

3) When you get a referral be sure to follow up and THANK whoever made the referral for sending business your way.

4) Continue to keep in touch AFTER the job is finished.

Keeping in touch is a vital part of the relationship building. You’re going that extra mile to make sure everything is running smoothly or, in the instance where there may be a problem, you can immediately offer a solution BEFORE it becomes a bigger issue.

If you haven’t got a system in place, it’s not too late to start!

You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is once you are open to creating and maximising the opportunities.

Need some help working out HOW to ask for referrals? Ask us and if you’re struggling to choose a business consultant to work with – check out our tip sheet.

Fly like a dragon
Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Why you need to be ACTIVE on social media.

Being active on social media offers a great business advantage which is still overlooked by many small business owners.

It’s a cheap and effective way to keep in touch on a personal and business level. Yet it is often misunderstood and I regularly get this question….

Why am I missing posts? 

You’ve liked a page, but you’ve not seen anything from them for a while.

So you hop on over to pay a visit and guess what? There’s a heap of posts you have not seen!

You’ve liked the page, you clicked follow, you’ve set your settings up correctly and yet, you’re still missing out!

How is that possible?

The most likely cause is that you’ve not been engaging.

Think of it like this…

You know what’s happening in the lives of the friends that you see often. You share news, celebrations and commiserations together. You are interested and active in one another’s lives so are front of mind with each other.

When it comes to friends who you rarely see the situation is different.

You’re not up to date on their news. Sure social media is a way to connect, BUT….

Here’s the biggie…..

UNLESS you are actively interacting, you may not be fully in the picture.

You will miss things ….sometimes important stuff!

On a personal level, I missed out on news that someone I knew had a baby and that another had passed away.  I had not been active on their particular page for a while – even though we were Facebook friends.

At the business level, a few people have been telling me they missed out on the Dragon Sisters birthday promo. They had not seen it in their Facebook feed because even though they liked our page, they had not been interacting.

The key is to take an ACTIVE interest.

We all have a group of people we reach out to and make time for. As a result, we’re up to date on what’s happening in their lives.

On social media, it’s pretty much the same.  You can’t just pop up once in a while and expect magic to happen. Life doesn’t work like that and neither does social media.

The key word here is SOCIAL.

When you are social, you have a business advantage over those who are not actively harnessing the free tools readily available.

In a nutshell – if you’re not active, if you don’t interact then you’re likely to miss out on news.

When it comes down to Facebook, their algorithms are going to think you’re not interested and will stop showing you posts from those you do not interact with.

That’s what happened with the two friends I mentioned above….so

How to fix this?

By showing interest. You do this by liking and commenting on a regular basis.  Do this with your friends and with your business.

It’s like your real-time friendships…the more you look after them, the more you know what’s happening in their lives. It’s the same on social media.

Don’t have time?

Think of it like this….keeping up on social media needs a disciplined approach. For a couple of reasons, namely that it can become a big time waster… you can disappear down a rabbit hole and emerge to find 2 or 3 hours have gone past!

The second reason is if you’re posting without a strategy, you’re wasting your time.

Not what you want to happen!

Set aside a fixed time each day to work your channels.  Remember, you do not have to cover all the channels. Choose the ones that work best for you.

You only need 30 minutes per day to do a quick flick through, drop a few comments and likes.

When you are doing this as a business, or in business, it serves a two-fold purpose…

1) It signals to Facebook that you are interested so you’re more likely to be fed the posts.

2) YOU remain front of mind with those you are interacting with…so when they are looking for a service, you are more likely to pop into their heads as someone to contact.

Posting or Interacting?

Both!

It’s important to post on your business page so your fans know you are there, and it’s equally important (and sometimes more important) to interact.

Think of this time spent as an investment in your business…take it from me, the returns are definitely there.

If you are not interacting your name is not staying front of mind.

When you are in business – you need to interact!

Don’t think it would suit your business?

In this day and age, you have to really keep your finger on the pulse. Things move so fast and attention spans are short.

Fortunately,  technology makes it easy to do so. You may not like it much, but it’s the reality and it’s not going away.

More and more businesses are branching out to social media and you should too.  It can really raise your business profile.

Note I said raise your profile. This is very different from making sales.

Key Benefits

It’s cheap – in fact, it’s FREE unless you want to use advertising.

You get real-time feedback – if someone is unhappy, you know about it straight away.

Any reviews are there for the whole world to see and, as the page owner, you cannot delete them unless you delete ALL your reviews.

Similarly, if they are thrilled with a service their reviews are gold!

It’s authentic because you can click on the profiles and see who is commenting/interacting.

Bottom line….if you’re not maximising the free parts of social media, then you’re missing out on opportunities.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS We do offer a short course on Understanding Facebook for Your Business – get in touch if you’d like to know more about it.

The future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all

Instead of writing a new post, this week I want to re-share a brilliant write by Samantha Bailey . The article is an excellent explanation of the future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all.

I’d urge you to follow the link and check out this very indepth and informative article.

Samantha Bailey is a highly experienced Data Analyst with an impressive range of related specialist skills, including Research, Forensic Analysis, Data Analysis and Analytics.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the article.

Yvonne

PS Need help creating a stellar online profile? Check out this course.

How trust builds business and why the obvious isn’t so obvious!

It’s obvious that to build any relationship we need a bedrock of trust. Trust builds business.

Who doesn’t know that?!

We all know it and that it makes perfect sense.

No one is going to build a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone they trust about as far as they can throw them. That would be like cosying up to a mamba and expecting nothing more harmful than a hug – just a teeny bit unrealistic – said the mistress of understatement.

Yet that is exactly what some of us do and then we wonder why we got bitten.

That was pretty much the premise of last week’s blog about poor old Bob coming unstuck with a new LinkedIn connection.

The big question is – who can you trust and how do you know you can trust them?

More importantly, if you’re interested in networking to advance your business ethically, how do new contacts and connections know they can trust you?

With digital networking and global reach, it’s not uncommon to have people in your network that you have never actually met. Nor will you, except with the acquisition of a Lear Jet.

I don’t know about you, but at Dragon Sisters we run to the cost of a couple of company cars and that’s about it. Except for a bunch of air miles. Cattle class. Not that I’m whinging.

One of the fail-safe ways to start out on a platform of reasonable mutual trust, is to do a lot of business through referrals. Michelle and I do the majority of our Dragon Sisters’ business through word-of-mouth referrals.

Our approach

As a couple of old dragons we pre-date social media and had to rely on strong in-person networking and referrals back in the day. As a sales person, I hated cold calling and being a pest, so I learnt fast that there was a far easier and more pleasant way to meet new prospects and great like-minded people, who were immediately interested in talking to me, because they knew someone who trusted me enough to refer a friend or an associate to me.

We use exactly the same approach now that we have access to all the marvellous one-click-away contact of social media. And it is marvellous making instant connections provided you don’t lose sight of the fact that any new connection is just going to be one more digit on your vanity metric, until, or unless, you’ve forged an initial element of trust.

That’s what doesn’t seem so obvious now to many digital networkers and marketers.

Michelle wrote a while back explaining how networking and referrals can drive any business’ growth far faster and far smoother once you get the hang of it. Like driving a Ferrari! Yes, I have hankerings for speedy, expensive, transportation toys.

Right, I’m off to polish my Nissan now.

Warm Wishes,

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

Your Reputation Matters – Check Out Who You’re Trusting With It!

Your reputation is affected by those who you surround yourself with.

I had an interesting little experience on LinkedIn and I thought I’d share it with you.

Maybe you’ve come across the same thing?

I was asked to connect with an individual on LinkedIn by another connection. This was an overt network expansion request to help generate interest in, this unknown to me potential connection’s, business.

Let’s call this individual, Larry.

Now, I’m not precious about my LinkedIn connections and who I let into my network. Ordinarily.

After all, if I can give a leg up to another business, then I’m usually more than happy to do so. That’s how networking works and our Dragon Sisters philosophy has always been to help out for no gain – the pay it forward concept.

That doesn’t mean I was born yesterday.

With many more yesterday’s behind me than I like to count, naturally I checked out my soon to be LinkedIn pal, Larry.

I’m a nosey sort and I really am interested in other people’s business.

Not in the curtain-twitcher way! (I’m not that nosey).

More in the what we might have in common way.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why my connection – let’s call him Bob – was raving about Larry.

Larry’s LinkedIn profile and information looked like he’d landed in LinkedIn Land a nanosecond ago.

Kind of the man with no past.

He’d been at the company he worked at only a few brief months. He claimed over a decade in experience and achievement in his sector, but there was nothing to bear out the claim anywhere in his summary or experience.

And I mean nothing.

With over 400 connections Larry had 4 skills endorsements and no past experience history.

Not that I count on vanity metrics, but still, given the dearth of information about the guy, that made his claims more than a bit tenuous.

His company website linked to nothing more informative than an opt-in landing site.

Oh-oh! Had Bob already parted with hard-won cash?

I had a nasty feeling he had. And Bob is a talented, hardworking, solopreneur. I didn’t like to think he’d been gulled.

So, I dug down a bit.

Actually, I drilled down like a manic mole. ‘Til the early hours, when I should have been in LaLa Land with the Sandman and a flock of supine sheep.

But I was intrigued and in full rat-up-a-drain-pipe mode.

Plus, as I said, I’m nosey.

The whole ‘curiosity killed the cat’ thing doesn’t wash with me. Not when it comes to business or handing over cash.

Larry’s claim was that he had the expertise to monetise Bob’s LinkedIn presence for Bob’s explosive business growth.

Really fast and really impressively.

Kind of like a LinkedIn networking guru who could turn LinkedIn into lots of lovely lolly for Bob.

First up, Larry would transform Bob’s profile and presence on LinkedIn into amazing guru-hood for Bob’s specific business sector. Bob’s new profile looked more gnu-like than guru-like. I was about as impressed as a kid at Christmas getting a stocking full of coal.

Bob has paid for this?! My high school kid has a better profile than poor old Bob. And that includes her Saturday job as wait staff.

Talk about being under-whelmed. Larry had done nothing for Bob’s professional reputation. Worse. He’d made Bob look like a complete numpty. And Bob is no numpty. In his field of expertise he’s a star.

My mid-night digging led me to the parent company of Larry’s business. It had been registered just last year. I dug around for the CEO of Larry’s company and that Big Cheese’s other business interests and his partners.

I looked at everyone associated with those businesses on Google, other social media sites and of course, on LinkedIn.

I checked out the company registrations. I checked out the glowing recommendations. Some of which were the same people (on various Big Cheese individual profiles) vouching for (different) businesses which hadn’t existed at the time of writing those gushing this is the go-to guy testimonials.

I found links to defunct websites (with domains registered to the Big Cheeses). To past events promising get-rich-quick schemes.

Most weird of all, was that the people in business together didn’t transparently acknowledge any relationship with each other. They all came from the same background. They all made lavish monetising promises, in different guises and under different companies over the years.

None of them had achieved rich list status themselves. And the way they were scrambling for business, like a pack of hyenas over a bone, had me worried that Bob had become the bone. Humble, lovely Bob, who had trusted his reputation to them and I suspected was on his way to trusting more of his hard-won cash to some under the radar business interests. And not in his business interests.

Spooky, isn’t it?

Dragon Sisters are big advocates of how to Connect. Convert. Sell.

There are ways to go about connecting authentically. This wasn’t one of them. Least ways, not one that works for Bob. Next time he’ll be checking out the reputation of who he’s trusting with his reputation. And money!

Warm Wishes

Yvonne

PS Do you need support deciding who to trust your reputation to? Download our Top 10 Tips by clicking the box below:

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

Do you share this WordPress dilemma?

Maybe you already knew this, but just in case….did you know that there are two versions of WordPress?

I’ve been merrily blogging on WordPress for quite a number of years. I’ve blogged, mainly on a personal level as a way to keep my wide network of friends, that are not on Facebook, updated on what’s happening in my life.

I love using WordPress, it’s easy to use and pretty intuitive. I never realised there was another side to this great platform.

I’ve recently started to blog as a way to share information,tips and ideas that are more connected to my business. As a result, I started to interact with business blogging communities and hear mentioned a bunch of fancy little features. Plugins that can be used for tracking, measuring, making online sales and more.

It all sounded fascinating. I was worried it would be complex, but was assured it was really simple. Of course, I wanted in on this!

WordPressGo to the dashboard they said and just click the little button. So I did.

I look and I look. Nope, no little button thingy there.

Yes, there is comes the response from several quarters.

I must be blind or stupid!

I slink back to my dashboard and look again. Still, I cannot see the elusive button!

Finally, someone pipes up and says you need to be using WordPress.org. “Ooooh,” says me “I never knew there were two!”

So what’s the difference?

That’s the best question you can ever ask if you’re new to or considering using WordPress!

Choosing one or the other really does depend on what your needs are, your skill level, and what you aim to accomplish.

No one told me this at the beginning, and I’m not alone in the dilemma as many folk report similar confusion and I still see others make the same mistakes I did. It’s a really easy mistake to make.

So which WordPress should you choose?

There’s loads of literature on this, but here’s my take of the two options and this link will take you to the official WordPress comparative chart

WordPress.org
This is the perfect choice for small-to-medium business owners and DIY’ers, as it is cost-efficient, fully customizable, and there are loads of options.

The myriad of customization options is limited only by your skill level and imagination. The software itself is free, including thousands of plugins you can use for your website. There is also a raft of additional plugins that you can buy separately to suit your needs/wants and budget!

The WordPress site itself will provide you with lots of advice, including handy walk-throughs on how to install the WordPress software and guide you through your initial posts. Considering it is a free service, the guide is very helpful and the instructions are really easy to understand.

You will need a web hosting service and a few other essentials. I love and always recommend this easy guide from Michael Hyatt on “How to launch a self-hosted WordPress blog in 20 minutes.”

Support forums abound all over the net, and you’ll easily find answers to “how to” questions about customizing your site. There are no restrictions to what you can do with the site, especially if you have coding experience in PHP or HTML, just to name a few. I’ve got no experience but the site works well for me – so I’m pretty convinced anyone can make this work!

WordPress.com
One of my VA’s came up with what I consider a great analogy to define WordPress.com. He referred me to this article – they describe it as being like when you rent a flat. You pay a certain amount to be able to occupy the space. There’s no need for you to maintain the flat because the landlord has that covered. You’re usually unable to make any significant structural changes to your flat or even bang a few nails into the wall – after all it’s rented. It does not belong to you.

That’s how WordPress.com essentially works. Web hosting is free and WordPress.com takes care of everything for you including fantastic spam protection, automatic backups and updates.

WordPress.com’s  security is also dependable. Plugins are available, but you don’t get to upload your own. There are heaps of themes to choose from (around 200) and some can be tweaked and customised in terms of colour choices, but you can’t really make significant changes. Kind of like in a flat where you choose your own furniture, but the basic layout remains the same in the whole complex.

As far as adverts go, your hands are tied because WordPress decides who gets to advertise.

In terms of a domain name you can only go as far as adding your preferred name to the WordPress domain – e.g. yourpreferredname.wordpress.com

You can unlock some further options if you are willing to pay a small fee e.g

● Remove ads to use your own (WordPress adverts not included)
● Make basic changes to the themes
● Extra storage space
● Upload your videos (VideoPress)
● Premium themes

If you want a full blown site sporting your own domain name, unlimited file storage, and no adverts, WordPress.com can work out to be expensive.

My personal choices

For my personal blog, I choose to pay to upgrade my WordPress.com to michellehanton.com and for everything else I use there is the free version.

I use WordPress.org for my business blog – Dragon Sisters

I have grappled with the idea of combining the two blogs, and the jury is still out on that one. I’m torn between separating my personal and professional life, but then, on the other hand, they are so closely intertwined, many of the people I’ve met professionally have become friends and similarly, those who I have been friends with have become clients.

These days business is a lot less formal than when I first started my career and as I always tells everyone, it’s all about people connecting with people. I guess I just might combine the two into one blog, but on the other hand, maybe my friends don’t want to read about the business stuff.

I’m in a bit of a dilemma!

Love to have your feedback in helping me make this decision. Leave me a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.

Michelle

 

 

Networking – The Pain of No Gain

Recently I was invited to meet a new networking group.   The first person I met told me, ‘I don’t speak to customers,’ with a please-go-away glint in his eye.   His female associate said, ‘that’s right, he’s great at website design, but he doesn’t like talking to customers.’

It made me wonder why she hadn’t left him safely chained up in his virtual world, far, far away from the real life people; with real life egos to offend.   I wanted to tell him to relax; there was no danger of me becoming one of his customers.

What was his associate thinking?  Bringing him to a networking event was like inviting the Terminator to a peace rally – at best pointless; at worst, potentially deadly – the lifeless bodies of dead opportunities strewn around him.

By almost spooky coincidence, I came across another website designer (on social media), who took our introduction as an opportunity – to immediately shoot holes in one of my websites.   Well, at least he recognised the opportunity.  Not that he had it for long.

Even spookier:   I am actually in the market for a new website!

Now I’m not bashing web guys or girls.   I have the greatest respect for web wizards.   Especially since when I started out in business, digital space was what you had between your fingers, and the web was what Spiderman had between his.

Things have changed a lot in that time.   Moreover, some things haven’t.   Like the need to attract customers to your business  and the ability to recognise them!

Clearly, these two gentlemen were interested in this. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been putting themselves in the physical, or online, networking space.  It’s a pity then that having taken that step, it didn’t work out for them because they had no idea how to maximise the opportunity presented.

It’s easy to look on and cringe, or chortle, at those two scenarios.   You and I can smugly reassure ourselves that, of course, we would never so obviously muck up the chance of interesting a hot prospect in our business.

The truth is, all of us, at some point, have missed an opportunity and are very likely oblivious to the fact.   The pain of no gain can show up much later, after the fact.   The more times we prod that pain point with the pointy stick of lost opportunity, the more it hurts – our business.

Image courtesty of 1shots at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of 1shots at FReeDigitalPhotos.net

Being on the point (sorry, pun phobics) with identifying an opportunity, in any environment, is a habit honing exercise, enhanced by practice and experience.  And it takes skill to translate an opportunity to an outcome.  A win-win outcome.

Not being on point, can be a business breaker.   Crack out the Panadol!

Michelle and I have worked together for nearly a decade now.   Sure, we’re sisters.

However, the reason I work with her is that Michelle is one of the best business strategists I know, and I have been privileged to know some amazing ones.

One discipline Michelle insists on (she can be a bit bossy), is that we dedicate a proportion of our time each week, to talking about creating and maximising opportunities – for our business, our clients, and our Dragon Sisters collaborators.

Michelle has a little list of what I call her Dragon Disciplines relating to opportunities.

DD #3 resonates here:   “Your expert may not be the right person to develop all opportunities”.     

If you’d like a copy of her list of Dragon Disciplines, drop me a note, and I’ll send you a copy.

Yvonne



Yvonne ToeringYvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

 

4 Reasons Why You Should Always RSVP – apart from being good manners!

Don’t you just love the feeling of slicing open an envelope and carefully sliding out a personalise invitation with your name on it? Even better if it’s vellum, gilt-edged or embossed with a crest!20160225_141748-1

Even after all these years, and countless invitations, I still love that moment as the sharp opener slices clean the envelope to reveal its contents. Those little moments of using my letter opener are becoming rarer and rarer.

Have you noticed an increased propensity for invitations to arrive by email?

Even wedding invitations turn up via email! You can call me old-fashioned. I know electronic is better for the planet and more cost efficient, but in my book, you can’t beat paper.

The days of snail mail envelopes are almost gone. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, they will be entirely obsolete.

Anyway, I digress. No matter how an invitation arrives, it nearly always has RSVP on it (répondez s’il vous plait) and a date to reply by. Of course electronic invitations can get trapped in your spam filter or the junk mail box, so you’re often none the wiser till it’s too late!

Responding is just plain good manners.

Yep! I can remember my grandmother always used to insist on Basildon Bond stationary to write RSVP’s and thank you notes. But, aside from not wanting to appear rude, there are other less obvious reasons why you should always RSVP.

#1 – Someone has thought enough about you to place you on their guest list. They want you at their event.

Give them the courtesy of knowing you appreciate being thought of. That’s the RSVP.

#2 – When we look at the business scenario – invitations are a way of saying “Hey, we value you. We’d like your company”. You’re being invited, you’ll be giving or gaining something from your presence at the event. Hopefully, you’ll do both!

Your RSVP, whether you’re accepting or declining, means you respect the business relationship.

#3 – If you repeatedly fail to respond, you could well find yourself scrubbed off the database permanently. When that happens, if you’re in business, it means the networking opportunities become more limited.

#4 – When you RSVP promptly (by the due date at the latest), you’re showing that you respect deadlines and value the organisers time.

Your appropriately timed RSVP is affirming that you’re a responsible and reliable person to deal with.

When sending a RSVP, if you need to decline, there is no need to go into any detail about why you are declining. A simple ‘regretfully unable to attend’ is usually sufficient.

If you are in the public eye or a position of seniority, you may well find yourself flooded with invitations. Just because you’re invited does not mean you have to accept. It’s perfectly okay to decide what you will and won’t attend. Just make sure you RSVP to every single invitation that arrives with RSVP on it!

The easiest way not to forget is to do it immediately, or at the very least make a diary date and flag so you don’t miss it. It’s all too easy to forget when you get busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday living.

Michelle

P.S. Emily Post has this to say on RSVP’s

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

 

The 4 Top Reasons Referrals Are Essential To Your Business

Referrals are a great source of business and despite the deluge of social media advertising some traditional methods still very much have a place in today’s business world.

4 Reasons referrals are essential

  1. Customer acquisition costs are a bare minimum.

Your happy customers are doing the marketing for you. Of course, this only happens if you give good service and are attentive to your customers’ needs. This means going above and beyond what is expected.

Satisfied customers are more than likely to bring in more customers to your business.

  1. Customer retention rate is higher.

If people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you. It is important to maintain contact and listen to customer feedback.

  1. The market place is generally crowded. This makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult.
  1. Conversion rates are higher. A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer.

Knowing when and how to spot a potential referral opportunity is a good way to kick-start your referral system into gear. When a happy, satisfied customer comes along and gives good feedback, grab the opportunity to ask the customer to spread the good about your business.

Conducting after-sale interactions lets your customers know they are valued and not everything ends immediately after the sale/job is done.

How Referrals Work

When was the last time you went to a restaurant because a friend kept on raving how great the food or the service was?

I bet it was pretty recently. In fact, just today, I went to brunch at a new place because a couple of friends recommended it.

Have you ever asked a family member/friend to recommend a reliable plumber/electrician to take care of your dripping taps or broken fans?

I do this on a regular basis because good tradies are hard to find! Similarly, doctors, dentists, web designers, accountants and a myriad of other professionals.

If you’re like me, then you probably like to give your business to, and place your trust in, someone that comes recommended by somebody you know and trust.

If you haven’t got a system in place, it’s not too late to start! When you keep your eyes open it’s surprising at how easy it really is.

I’d love you to share your feedback on how you handle referrals and what systems you are using.

Michelle

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Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.