Power of Referral Marketing

I have started a few businesses in my lifetime and initially I always market the business with direct mail, even though I know this does not work. It took me a long time to learn this. I actually hate direct mail marketing as it is very time consuming, expensive and gets minimal results, if any. The only reason I do it is because I don’t like selling my services to potential clients face to face. I always think it will be easier to just send a letter and clients will come knocking on my door. Let me tell you something, they never come knocking.

I have read books, blogs and websites to learn how to write direct mail sales letters, but they don’t work, they never work. People do not respond to direct mail even if you are offering them a free service, even if Stephen King writes the letter, it’s not going to get a good response.

The key to marketing your services is through recommendations and referrals from satisfied customers and your friends and family members. This has worked for both businesses I previously created. I was just too foolish to realize this at the time.

Recommendations and referrals are great, the customer actually contacts you. You don’t have to chase them or offer free services, products or discounts as an incentive to get your foot in the door. They have already been sold on the services or products you provide by the person who recommended your business to them. You don’t have to sell them or cut your fees. It’s great, I love referrals.

Let me give you examples of two of the businesses I owned where referrals and recommendations really helped my business grow.

I started a real estate appraisal business and of course I sent out letters to potential clients and this failed miserably. Then I contacted the people I knew in the mortgage industry and my business took off. One client referred another and it kept multiplying. Within a short period of time I had numerous clients, an office and employees.

One of the best referrals I ever got, I almost didn’t act on. I was recommended by a satisfied client to a friend of his who was in charge of the appraisal department of a large bank. When he contacted me I almost didn’t accept his offer to meet with him. Luckily I did as this bank became my biggest client and supplied my firm with hundreds of appraisals each year.

Once I closed my appraisal firm, not because of lack of business, but because I was burned out after 18 years, I started a real estate sign installation business. Again I foolishly started with direct mail and offered reduced prices as an incentive and of course this did not work. Then I got lucky, I met the owners of a sign company and we got along from the start. They started recommending their customers utilize my services and my business took off. I went from 5 clients to over 100 clients in a few months and I didn’t need to reduce my price or offer incentives.

Next a Realtor I had spoken to a few times when I was in the appraisal business referred his Realtor friends to me and this added another 20 to 25 clients. This was great as these people contacted me, I did not have to chase them. Many of these Realtors were people I had sent direct mail too with no luck. One even told me to my face that if I was not recommended to him by his trusted friend he would not have utilized my services. His firm ended up being the best client I had as he owned two offices and had a lot of business.

It took me a lot of time and money to learn that recommendations and referrals are the best and most cost effective source of new customers and clients. I am such a big believer that I started my current business Biz I Like so other people can benefit from referrals and recommendations from satisfied customers, clients, patients and friends and family members.

Our mission at Biz I Like is to help members easily and quickly find local businesses that provide great services or products which have been recommended by their friends and family members and to assist businesses that provide great services or products obtain more customers, clients or patients through recommendations and referrals.

Take it from me referrals and recommendations are the key to business success.

Direct Sellers: Less Is More

Though direct selling has been around for over a hundred years, it continues to be an effective way to sell products and services. People are driven to buy things through word of mouth marketing, and that’s basically what you do as a direct seller – you spread the word about your products by letting other people know how these can help them and how these can be useful in their lives.

As a direct seller, it’s all about being personable, friendly, and putting yourself out there. You won’t succeed if you’re not going to work at it – whether it’s hosting a party, going door-to-door, or establishing an online presence, you really need to put yourself in front of consumers and convince them to buy from you.

Of course, there’s such a thing as overselling, which you really don’t want to do. As a direct seller, you need to be intuitive enough to know when to push and when to pull back. Because if you continue to push when it’s time to pull back, you may end up alienating the person altogether. And that will result in the loss of a sale.

For example, you’ve already convinced a prospect that the product is good. He’s primed and ready to buy. But because you didn’t prompt him, and continued to just blather on about the product, he eventually loses interest. He just wants you out of there because you’re boring him to tears.

Most of the time, less is more when it comes to direct selling. The pushier you are, the more you act desperate about making a sale, the less likely you end up getting it. Whereas if you say your pitch and let your prospect consider it for a while, and then try to get the sale, you may actually have more chance of getting it.

Direct selling is all about balance. If you get a sale, then great, but if not, then you can always try again another time. The key here is building a relationship with the person and establishing trust.

People are a lot smarter these days, and most people only buy from those they trust. When you oversell, you tend to sound rather insincere and fake – instead of letting the products speak for themselves after you’ve made your pitch, you keep pushing until your attitude becomes the focal point, not the products, which is very unattractive.

I remember a friend telling me about one of her experiences. She and her husband won a free stay at a nice hotel, but they were required to attend a seminar during the stay. The seminar turned out to be a direct selling scheme where the sellers tried very hard to sell them some expensive properties. When my friend and her husband weren’t convinced, it came to the point that the sellers became very rude and insulting, insinuating that my friend and her husband probably couldn’t afford the properties. The experience really left a bad taste in my friend’s and her husband’s mouths.

I believe the ambush idea is a really bad one. Tricking your customers isn’t a good way to gain their trust. And when your audience says no or politely refuses, then it’s really best to back off. The more you try to oversell, the more you may end up offending your audience and appearing incredibly rude.

So what are some of the things you should remember as a direct seller?

1. Less is more – it’s actually better to undersell than to oversell a product.

2. When you believe in your products, then that’s the time you can really convince your customers to buy. People know when you’re sincere and when you’re just trying to sell them something.

3. Always be honest. Don’t oversell, don’t make promises that you can’t deliver on, and don’t ever lie. You may get that sale, but if your products don’t deliver, then you’re just going to end up embarrassing yourself and ruining your personal brand as well as your company’s.

4. Don’t be all about selling your product. Take the time to get to know your consumers, to build a relationship and establish trust. It can also help you gain insight into how your products can really add value to their lives, which you can add to your pitch.

5. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Remember to listen to your audience as well, and answer their questions the best you could.

For direct sellers, it’s really all about balance. So make sure you strike a healthy balance so you can get that sale and not appear rude and overbearing.

Email Marketing Changed the World

Email marketing is a process of direct marketing that relies on electronic mail in order to communicate fund raising or commercial messages to the clients which means that each and every single email that reaches a client is part of the process. It is considered to be a great way to form different types of relationships with people on your list and don’t lose contact, while getting more business without having to do any other activities. This notion is used to refer to enhancing merchant – customer relationships while sending emails and encourage client loyalty.

Emails can also be sent to acquire new clients or to convince actual ones to purchase various products immediately. Email marketing consists as well in posting advertisements to emails sent by different firms to their clients and sending emails through the internet which is the only possible mean for that to happen.

The advantages of using this form of advertising are numerous. First of all it is said to be one of the most effective tactics of marketing via the internet. More than generous numbers of subscribers have agreed to receive scheduled email notifications on different subjects they are interested, not to mention the fact that half of all internet users send or check emails on daily basis. It is also relatively low budget as the effectiveness of email marketing is 20 times bigger than that of the direct mail as usually people are more inclined to open and read an email than to open direct mail packages. Studies concluded by the Direct Marketing Association concluded that traditional methods of advertising are no match to the response rate of emails which is 50 times greater.

The disadvantages reported by different email services companies refer to email deliverability which is still a problem for marketers who are legitimate as the averaged delivery rate is of 56% while 20% of the emails were rejected. All companies must verify that their programs respect spam laws. Aside from respecting all legal requirements, the so called “email service providers” started helping clients to manage and establish personal email marketing campaigns, providing assistance and statistics regarding the number of emails that were received and opened and if any links were clicked.

This process should be used as a method of balancing marketing campaigns. The secrets are truly easy to access and guarantee the lucrative nature of such a simple way of advertising. The world has changed fundamentally and the way it works too and all we have to do is to adapt and embrace all the technological advantages that are out there.

Why Outsource Your Direct Mail Services Work?

If your business is new or in the growth stage, or you want to take it to that point, then likely you are thinking about what marketing methods would be the most strategically advantageous for you. One method you may see coming up over and over again is the mail advertising method. Direct mail is one of the most popular advertising methods today, as this offers you a wide range to physically make a connection with your future clients. But mail can be an expensive operation, particularly if you put in the work yourself. The time and the costs that go into a mail campaign can be significant, and if you don’t put those investments in, you may as well not do a mail campaign at all because you want it done right. The truth is that mail campaigns aren’t as expensive as many business owners think that they are, particularly when you consider the return on the investment. Direct mail can be very lucrative, but when you are doing it yourself it can feel nothing but expensive. Here we talk about why you would consider outsourcing your mail work.

Direct mail is one of the most lucrative advertising methods around. The reason for this is that it makes you credible from the get go to your potential clients when they get a physical connection to you. Some experts suggest you can make as much as a nine dollar return on every dollar invested into your direct mail campaign, but only if you do it right. If you want that kind of return on your advertising budget, then you definitely need a direct mail campaign in action. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, that is the first good reason for you to hire a Direct Mail Services company.

The advantages of direct mail are in the high volume sales and your ability to make a direct connection to your growing customer base. Although email marketing can be very effective as well, a direct mail service provides your clients with something to hold on to that can not end up in the recycle bin as quickly. More and more people today are directly looking at the mail that comes into their mail box, but they can not say the same thing about what is handed into their email folders in this fast paced world.

Direct mail services also offer a staying power that many other advertising methods can not. A radio or TV message lasts only as long as it airs, email ads get deleted, and newspaper or online print ads can clicked over to the next waiting headline. A product developed by your mail services team, such as a postcard with a coupon on it, can be held and kept in the briefcase, purse, handbag, or stuck on the fridge until someone needs your service or product.

At the end of the day, mail services will always be worth the investment because they provide a staying power to your message and a physical connection between you and your clients. The question is not why outsource this work, but rather, why haven’t you hired a mail services company yet?