How To Trigger Recommendations

How 12 Emails Generated 5 Years Of Confirmed Business

Hugh Jones

I’ll give you a real example immediately – Hugh Jones (pictured). I interviewed one of his clients for a story.

She shared it with 12 people by email. 7 of them replied. 3 of them became clients. He was fully booked for 5 years.

When you do what I’m about to reveal, this can sometimes happen for you too.

You get a sudden influx of potential clients who were enthusiastically recommended.

BUT if you’ve ever had a fireworks party, especially in the rain, you’ll know that some of them just don’t spark and rocket into the sky.

But that’s okay – the explosion of sound and colour from those that do more than make up for those that don’t.

So don’t expect this every time. Instead, plan it. Maximise the chances of results like this being repeated every so often.

If you follow this guide, you’ll learn how to keep your powder dry. And maximise the chances of a “whoo!” when those sudden influxes of clients hit your inbox or your phone.

If you read “How It All Started: My Journey To Becoming A Word-Of-Mouth Geek“, then forgive the repetition at the beginning of this piece.

It’s important you see. These are the pockets of super-performance waiting to happen when you switch your focus to word of mouth.

In word-of-mouth endeavours, because people think it’s in the hands of the gods, so very little action is taken to multiply it. So let’s change that right now.

A quick lesson in logic with 2 quick questions. A lesson I’m just as guilty as you are of missing (for many years in fact until I figured it out).

Question 1: What’s the biggest influence on a purchasing decision?

Answer: Recommendations and word of mouth.

Question 2: Where do we spend the majority of our marketing budget? On the biggest influence on a marketing decision or something else?

Answer: Something else.

A light touch of word-of-mouth like this can deliver an exponential return. Whether you produce the stories and ask your clients to share it, or ask for help from people like me, you can get a huge return on the time or money you invest.

Spending time is one thing. Spending money on “word of mouth” doesn’t even have a budget code in virtually anybody’s accounting systems.

But it should. Especially if you have a budget code measuring the huge returns you’ll keep on banking for many years from even one story.

This is all about doing something about the biggest influence on purchasing decisions. Just one nudge, no matter how small, can often deliver an exponential return.

And the converse is true. Continuing to invest in all those areas further down the list of influences on a purchase, delivers lesser returns.

One of the super-performers is referred business. It usually just drips into a business sporadically. But most referrals convert and easily.

Rather than waiting for it, why not make it happen?

Some Of Your Client Stories Can Explode Into Referrals – Will You Light The Fuse?

Okay, so you saw the example at the beginning of this article. Only some of your clients will follow the rules to make this happen. Some efforts will fizzle out.

But it’s worth asking “will you share it” after you have the approved story.

Because those that explode into your inbox can literally transform a business like it did for Hugh.

So what are the rules?

Okay, let’s get to it. Firstly, think about an experience you had as a customer that you really loved. If you’d been interviewed for a story like I did with Hugh, would you feel offended if you were asked to share it?

His client, Ros, wasn’t. In fact she was delighted to help.

Some may refuse, granted. Some may agree and then never get around to doing it.

But if you never ask, it’s almost guaranteed it won’t happen, apart from the odd referral that may drip in over time.

I suspect Ros wouldn’t have mentioned it to as many as 12 headteachers. And even if she did, it would have taken years rather than a few short hours by email.

It just needs a gentle question – “would you mind sharing it?”

But learn the rules before you ask:

Rule 1

Focus first on getting the story (if you haven’t downloaded the guide, do so here – this shows you how step-by-step).

Without the story, you have nothing tangible to ask your client to share.

Decide who to ask – in fact, this article helps you do just that: Thinking 80/20 With Word Of Mouth For Better Results

Rule 2

Once you have the story approved and laid out in the magazine format, forget about it. Counter-intuitive? Absolutely. Save the professional magazine layout. You don’t want to use that at all just yet – save it to use afterwards with any referrals you get (in the meeting, or in any email correspondence).

Rule 3

Do not drop the baton! You’re probably already thinking “why not ask the client to simply send the graphical story?” After all it looks great and shows you in the best light? But that’s precisely when the baton is dropped. You want the email message your client shares to be just that – a simple email with just text.

The story you produce and the email you ask them to send won’t be too different. It’s just that you want it to be a personal message from your client to the people they are recommending you to. If you engage me, I produce such an email for you as part of the job I do.

Rule 4

This is critical – pay close attention. If your client includes your phone number or email address or any other way of contacting you, it won’t work. It’s a huge baton-drop.

They need to end the email where you are recommended, asking for a reply to THEM instead of you.

Something like this:

[after the story they are sharing]…“I’d recommend them. In fact, I’m often in touch. Reply and let me know if you’d like them to call and discuss? If you agree, I’ll pass on your contact details.”

Why? Because they don’t know you. They are unlikely to contact you. Trust me, I’ve done this alot!

Instead, the email should look like an offer to introduce. And your client should offer to give you the baton – i.e. suggest they pass on their contacts details and an agreement to receive contact from you.

Rule 5

Make it easy for your client – talk to them about sharing the story. Say you have the basis for an email they can copy, paste, adapt a little and send. Reinforce that you’d appreciate it if they asked their clients to reply to them.

And forward on any replies.

Rule 6

Do the thinking for your client. Describe the type of clients you seek. If you didn’t read that other article earlier, have a look now: Thinking 80/20 With Word Of Mouth For Better Results

But also be conscious of their time. If they would send it to 100 people, fantasic! Get ready to be busy.

Instead, ask for maybe 3, but suggest if they have time, as many as they can would be appreciated.

In the example I started with, just 12 emails filled a diary for many years.

And that’s it! The key thing to do is act. Make sure you have great stories. Choose the candidates carefully – they have to be strategically logical.

But if they are also the lively, sociable types with a wide network, every now and again one of them could turn into a mini-avalanche of introductions.

Ask The Author A Question – And Get A Personal Answer

Your message goes directly to the author (you aren’t subscribed to a list):

Either copy, adapt and paste these questions, or ask your own about this topic or any other topic concerning growing your business through word of mouth:

Such as:

“Yes, but this doesn’t apply to me because [your reason]…so, what can I do?”

“I am in the [insert business type] sector, how can I grow my business through word of mouth?”

Or you choose?

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4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. How It All Started: My Journey To Becoming A Word-Of-Mouth Geek - Social Proof
  2. Thinking 80/20 With Word Of Mouth For Better Results - Social Proof
  3. How To Get More Referrals Without Asking - Social Proof
  4. Are You Applying The Top 3 Influences On A Purchasing Decision? - Social Proof

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