Have you ever had a really good look at who’s actually referring you and been surprised to find it’s a handful of the same people over and over again?

Have you wondered why more of your customers or strategic partners aren’t referring you at all?

Even though you might have a great product or service and your customers rave about what you or your product have done for them, they may NEVER refer you. Think about it. Do you refer every product or service that you have had a great experience with? Of course not. The good news is that doesn’t mean working on your referral system is a waste of time. Instead try looking at your referral sources in a different light. If you can start to recognize their profiles, you may just find you can start to create a much more powerful Referral Marketing System and generate a flood of new customers!

Who will refer you?

If you are currently getting referrals, start looking at the people that are referring you the most. At first glance, you might not see any differences between them and other customers. In fact they may not have even been your best customer. Instead what you are likely to find is that they have one or more of the following characteristics.

If you have ever read the Tipping Point you might recall that Gladwell talks about these first 3 very powerful groups of individuals:

Salesmen or Persuaders – You can’t miss these charismatic people. You probably find yourself drawn in by their charm. Lucky for you, they are also naturally armed with powerful negotiation skills that cause others to want to agree with them. When a persuader mentions your product or service, he or she will encourage others to try it and they will.

Connectors – These are your customers that have a large social network and are happy to connect you with those networks; or share their experiences with your product or service with their network.

Mavens – These individuals are information specialists or people we rely on to provide us with new information, especially those around your particular product or service. For example a food critic for a restaurant would be an ideal maven and strong referral source, or someone who researches and downloads a large number of phone apps could refer a ton of people to a new business iPhone app.

The above can (and often are) combined with one of more of the following:

Raving fans – The product or service you provided has had such an impact on them that they just can’t stop talking about it and/or others have noticed the results.

Strategic Partners – Strategic partners share your same target audience. The strategic partners that will refer you the most (assuming they also have some of the above mentioned characteristics) are those that come just before you in the timing cycle.

For example, while real estate agents and movers share a similar target audience, because realtors tend to come before the moving company in the timing cycle of moving they will be able to refer more business to the mover than vice versa.

Friends/Families/Peers – Because they believe in you and want to support you, your friends, family members and peers will refer you. But don’t get upset if they don’t. It’s likely because they don’t portray any of the other above mentioned characteristics.

Others with a similar target audience – If a woman is pregnant and within a short period of time many of those around her also become pregnant, as a provider of baby gear you might find that this individual is referring you a ton because she is surrounded by others currently in the market for what you offer.

Doers – One of the reasons we don’t refer every product or service we come across is because we simply don’t have the time. Doers are those that will follow through with action, and tend to be efficient with their time. If they say they will send contact info about a great company, they will. If you ask for a referral and they say yes, they will give it. Others are more introverted and can be described more as thinkers. They may be less likely to actually follow through with a referral source or even refer you at all.

Here is a great exercise

In your database, start to identify your customers (and even prospects) by the traits above. Do you find that those with a strong combination of traits are also strong referrals? Can you now start to think of better ways to reach out to them and get them more engaged in referring you more?

At the very least, I hope this information also helps you forgive or understand why some of your customers aren’t referring you at all even though they raved about your product or service. It’s not because they don’t want to, they just may not be programmed to do so.

Want to build your own killer Referral System. Check out our Referral Engine Program

About Cidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success – a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget-minded small businesses and professional services. She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to finally achieve that next vital level of success. Cidnee is also a sought-after speaker, writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service based operations.

If you would like to build a system to reach those goals quicker, check out Cindee’s Speak for Leads & Expertise Program.

AvatarCidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success, a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.