A great way to increase the longevity of any business or sales career is to have great referrals. In this episode, we’ll explore the evolution of referrals and the stages of you can move through to receive authentic and quality testimonials and referrals.
Amber Vilhauer is the owner of the company called NGNG Enterprises, which stands for No Guts, No Glory, a phrase that her mother used as she was growing up. It reminds Amber to face her fears as she navigates the online world.
A large part of NGNG Enterprises’ work includes developing high-performance websites. Amber understands websites are the hub and heart of a business and her goal is for people to land on your website and to experience you. In order to do that, the video has become a big part of their marketing strategy so the connection is more personal. They also have a marketing division where they help influencers start creating videos and live streaming. Amber’s team teaches them how to optimize and repurpose their content for all major channels. Consistency is part of Amber’s approach because this greatly impacts sales. For authors, Amber’s team helps them launch their books.
Referral in the traditional sense is the sharing of information from one person to another about a particular business or service. By word of mouth, people share information with colleagues, friends, and family about businesses they believe in and trust. Getting referrals is a great way to build a customer base through people who have already used your services or products so you want to make sure you ask for the referral while the memory is still fresh and they’re excited.
Amber has a systematic approach she uses in asking for a testimonial. At the end of every website project, they celebrate their success with their clients. While they are celebrating and happy, Amber asks the clients if they would be willing to provide a written testimonial of their experience. The client invariably asks what she wants them to say but Amber lets them know she’d rather have them articulate their own experience with her company so the testimonials are 100% true and genuine. Over the years, she has found there are consistent keywords throughout the testimonials.
For years, these written testimonials were the norm but now, videos have become popular. Amber started asking for video testimonials when she realized it was the best way to develop a personal connection in this digital world. The video is more authentic. With the rise of live-streaming, Amber has taught her team to invite their clients to their Zoom Room live-stream. It’s an opportunity where to celebrate a book launch and they can also interview their clients. This offers two great opportunities. On the one hand, they are giving their clients a platform to share their message and grow their business. On the other hand, part of the interview entails the client being asked to share their experience while working with Amber’s team. It’s a win-win situation. Regardless of which platform or how the information is developed, Amber then repurposes the content and optimizes it for YouTube or blog content. Working from multiple platforms is a way to show potential clients that they are active in the business and it elevates the whole experience. Most sales teams fail to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities and can miss a very effective system. Once you know how to organize the flow, the entire process becomes a little more automated.
Getting a constant referral rate
Amber is writing a book with the working title Elevate Every Experience: Develop Personal Connection to Scale your Influence. Amber believes that people should be focusing on developing personal connections with each person they’re attracting into their ecosystem. As mentioned earlier, you can draw people to you using video content. As they feel they’re getting to know you, there are things you can do to nurture that relationship and move this into the beginning of a sales experience. By the time you call, they feel like they’ve known you for a long time.
You need to be intentional about their sales experience. Being transparent and honest in the video stages helps set you up to be liked and trusted. When you do that, you’ll be able to build that consistent experience and further deepen the relationship.
As a sales rep, you control the experience for the people you work with. Depending on what you offer, they can start as a follower, then a prospect, then as a client. You can create a website but people will stay based on the way you make them feel. You need to have the desire to build a relationship with your customer.
Existing customers vs New customers
Many salespeople are focused on looking for new clients and don’t realize the satisfaction, fulfillment, and profit in extending themselves to their existing customers. While it’s good to reach out and look for new clients, it’s also equally valuable to keep existing clients happy. You can’t get consistent testimonials if they are not genuinely happy by their experience. Take the time to evaluate your system and see if you are offering a good experience for your clients.
Improve the experience
This can be as simple as smiling more. Being engaging and being present as yourself are inviting to people and will feel more fulfilling to you. When we connect with people on a deeper level it’s typically reciprocated over time. Make their life more fun and you’ll find people happy to provide a referral.
Understanding your prospects
Instead of thinking of your prospects as a lead, think of them as people. They are living, breathing people with families, and real-life problems. They are stressed with the current situation too and they are burdened with whatever they are facing on top of it all. Many people are broken and they are doing the best they can do. We certainly know how this can feel. The next time you get onto a call, remember the person you’re talking to and act with compassion.
Getting the testimonials
When to ask for a testimonial depends on the project. For a website client, it’s at the end of the project when they are celebrating its launch. In contrast, Amber hosted a two-day live event called Author Up Live. It was a $3,500 event and as soon as people signed up for it, Amber sent them a personal message within minutes. In her email, she asked the clients to create a one minute video telling her why they’re excited about the event. She also told them she’ll share the video in the community to promote them up and get everyone else excited. In another instance, Amber worked with author Mike Michalowicz for his book Fix This Next and asked him for a testimonial halfway through the project.
You can ask for testimonials at different stages but it depends on what you’re offering, and the natural moment of excitement for your customer, so that it’s almost natural for them.
There is no wrong path, says Amber. It depends on your business and if there are objections, don’t think of it as going through a bad patch. Rather, think of it as a time of alignment. No testimonial is a bad testimonial if you know how to look at it from a positive point-of-view.
“How a Steady Referral Rate Generated More Than 900 Authentic Testimonials” episode resources
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