A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Make your business 'super referable'

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One US doctor changed the rules of the game by offering house calls - via Skype. Photo / Thinkstock
One US doctor changed the rules of the game by offering house calls - via Skype. Photo / Thinkstock

In his book 'Turn your customers into your sales force' Author Ross Reck noted that "A whopping 50 per cent of your business success comes from getting existing customers to recommend and promote your business to their friends, associates and colleagues."

(In other words, half of your success comes from getting your customers to tell other people about how good your business is.)

In this week's column I thought I'd share 2 simple strategies to help you make your business 'super referable'.

Super Referable Strategy 1: Become a master of one thing

This strategy just means you become known as the person or business that is the best at doing one thing.

I saw a great example of this from my marketing colleague in the States Christine Clifford.

Christine's brother is a carpenter in Montana.

Several years ago when the economy was booming, he was busy working on multimillion dollar houses. When the housing market in the United States came to a screeching halt, so did his building work. The builders that had been contracting him to come in and work on these homes stopped calling.

Christine went to visit her brother and they drove around his community looking at these houses that he had helped to work on.

Christine quickly realised that her brother was lovingly pointing out the woodwork that he had done on these homes: shutters, decks, stair rails etc. Then he was talking about how on the inside of each home, his speciality was hardwood floors and internal pieces of fine woodwork.

So she said to him, "You know, Greg, what you really are, is you are a master of fine woodwork. You've been positioning yourself out there as a carpenter, and they are a dime a dozen. So let's go home and create a simple one page flyer for you that just says, 'Greg, Master of fine woodwork' and see what happens.'

Well, you can guess what happened.

People started calling up her brother to come and do the woodwork in their home. And since he is also a carpenter they would ask him, "By the way, now that you are in my house, I've got these doors that are broken, and the deck needs to be fixed. Can you help?"

Of course he was able to do all that work, but he was putting his resources- his time, his money, and his people-into getting the message out there that he was a 'master of fine woodwork.'

What happened to Christine's brother is his business became so successful; he had to hire people to work for him! That's a great example of how if you spread yourself too thin and try and help everyone, not only do you have a lot of competition, but no one looks at you as an expert in your field.

Super Referable Strategy 2: Change the game
Neil Raphel is an expert in marketing and publishing.

Neil told me that sometimes when you are competing in business it's smart to change the rules of the game.

There is a doctor in Brooklyn, New York who changed the game.

Guess what he is doing in his medical practice to be different?

He's now making house calls. (No doctors make house calls these days.)

This doctor does it through the internet.

Using Skype he puts himself in your house to talk to you and treat you.

He does one office visit to get all your background information but he keeps up with his clients regularly either by walking around Brooklyn and visiting them or doing it through emails and Skype.

And he's doing amazingly well.

The good news is that there are dozens of simple things you can do in any business to make it easy for people to recommend you.

What could you do to make your own business 'super referable?'

'Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.' Kevin Stirtz
Action Exercise:

1: What one thing could you focus on becoming very good at in your own business?

2: How could you 'change the game' in your industry?

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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