Why Every Business Needs a Referral Guideline

By May 15, 2017Taxes
tax services sandy

Why a Referral Guideline is Your Missing Piece

You want more business and you are waiting for the outpouring of potential customers knocking on your door.

What if I told you it’s already happening and you’re not capturing them?

Since society now has everything at their fingertips it’s important that you’re just as accessible to those prospects that are needing your product or service.

And the fact that we only have on average a 7-8 second attention span it’s also important you are directing your buyers through the easiest and quickest calls to action.

A call to action is just as it sounds–asking someone, your potential customers, or client to take an action.

So, one of the quickest and most lucrative sale is through a referral source.

We only do business with people we know, like, and trust. The best part of a referral is those three big components are already augmented in the process because our heuristics kick in, which is how our brain makes shortcut decisions, and we take the referrer’s advice. Usually we know like and trust the person referring us to someone, so psychologically we don’t need to take into account those three components-they’ve already happened subconsciously in our minds.

Most small businesses only have a single channel of revenue which comes from referrals. Word of mouth is huge for most of us out trying to grow a business. When Incite Tax started out several years ago, almost 100% of new business was from referrals, so we know exactly what that is like. We now have several other sources of marketing that are integral to our growth.

My focus today is on how you can make referrals come in your “door” as quick and as easy as possible, Not to mention the RIGHT kind of clients you want to work with.

It starts with a Referral Guideline.

The best part about this strategy is it’s so easy. One of my favorite sayings that I often reflect on goes something like this, “What is the one thing that requires the smallest amount of effort that will exploit the biggest results?”

No matter what industry you’re in, whether CrossFit, Real Estate, or Insurance this system can be a game changer for your business.

So, you already have people referring business to you, the question you should be asking yourself is how can I amplify that?

I do want to say one quick side tangent that is extremely important…

Your business/service/product better be awesome, have a competitive advantage and be worth referring to! If you’re not seeing as many referrals as you’d like then make sure you spend a little more time on your processes and your service delivery. I promise if you give an experience that is memorable for any reason, people will be raving about you. So start there and always make that a focus!

No matter how good your product or service is, it’s always ALWAYS about how the customer FEELS.

So, that should be your prestep and overarching theme to make this system work. It’s the fuel to this machine and the better fuel you have the better your machine will run.

Once that is in place your customer experience is working on all cylinders. The next thing to make this money-making machine turn it up 10x is your referral guideline.

There are four parts to this and you could complete it in about 30 minutes if you want. It will be worth every minute.

Step 1-What is Your Business About?

This is the very first section you need to complete.

What do you believe?

What is your competitive advantage?

How do you solve your customer’s pain points?

Why would a potential customer care about you, what is in it for them?

Those are a few questions to get the creative juices flowing, but feel free to write down what comes to mind. And remember, don’t make it about you even though it is about you…got it? Make sure it’s about their pain points and what they care about through you.

Step-2 Ideal Customer

This section is important for two reasons. First, it helps your existing customers realize who you serve best and some of their qualities to look out for. The second reason this is so important is because it provides you with YOUR target audience. If you care about 10x your business or growing in any rapidity, you absolutely need to select a target audience.

Step 3-List of Things Ideal Customer Could Say

This portion is basically a conscious triggering mechanism for you to instill in your current clients, friends, and colleagues. You’ll create a list so that when your existing client hears one of their friends say a phrase or asks a question on the list, they’ll be triggered to proceed to the next section which you read in a minute.

If you didn’t know this by now people refer for their OWN benefit. It’s true, it’s been studied and proven that we refer because it makes us (the referrer) feel good. It makes us feel superlative and also happy that we’re helping other people. So this section will allow you to tap into that subconscious and make it easy for them to talk about you.

A simple example from our referral guideline is, “I’m sick of paying taxes.”

Once our clients hear one of their friends say that, they are triggered to jump right into the final step.

Step-4 Now What?

Like I said above we want to refer, but we don’t want to sound pushy or make it awkward to bring up. This last step makes it so easy it’s insane.

Once they have heard one of the sayings you’ve listed out on step three you have your customers say just one thing…”I know these guys, they can help!”

What we’ve done is help you orchestrate referrals at a quicker rate. People want to refer they just don’t know how sometimes. This system helps your clients bring it up so easily without any complexities.

Pro Tip- Where should I place it?

There are many options on how you can actually deliver this to your existing clients. For one, think about where your clients are going to see it most.

We make it simple and add it to some emails and on our website so it is always available no matter where our clients are. It could be a print out at your office or on a thank you page of your website. Test it out and see where it brings you the best results.

Pro Tip #2- High Referrers

Something we really like doing is showing gratitude to some of our top clients who refer a lot of business. We like to give gifts to them and do our best to research things they would actually want instead of an Olive Garden’s gift card.

If you’ve been receiving a lot of referrals from one specific source, you may want to show some attitude of gratitude. It always feels good to give back anyways.

Create your very own right now!

This system works and if you create and install it into your existing process I guarantee you’ll start seeing an increase in referrals, but even better you’ll see the quality of those referrals improve because you’ve selected a target audience that you are best at serving.

If you have questions I’d love to hear them and if you’d like to see an example of the referral guideline just click below:

Referral Guideline Example


  • Lex Udy says:

    Thank you, John. I forwarded this to our son Ross who is in the sales business. We hope it might help him generate more business contacts and sales.
    As for us, we do not get involved in sales at our stage of life, but we like your suggestions and your service.
    Lex & Joanne Udy