Use Your Hypothalamus
Each and every one of us has this thing in our bodies called a Hypothalamus. It’s a tiny little part of our brain which controls human urges – Whether it’s thirst, hunger, maternal instinct or aggression.
It’s also this part of our brain that is home to our need to be a part of something greater than ourselves, which is the same need that drives us to make referrals.
We’re wired to promote those who make us feel good.
It’s why so many businesses have succeeded when their marketing approach is solely “word of mouth”. In fact, a recent survey of several thousand small businesses discovered that 63.4% of businesses make over half of their revenue from referrals even though 79.9% of businesses readily admit they have no system of any kind to generate them.
While it appears that most businesses seem to get lucky with referrals, it also puts them in a vulnerable position – what happens when their luck runs out? They don’t have any control over their most significant source of income!
At Helium, we have many businesses come to us for help when their word of mouth referral stream has dried up (in one case this was after 20 years of solid referrals!). All of a sudden, they’re required to do something proactive to keep their doors open.
If people have stopped talking about you how do you get them to start again?
We know why people are driven to make referrals, so perhaps we should also be asking what makes them hesitate.
The key obstacle for someone referring us to their friends and colleagues is risk. If they vouch for us in public, and we don’t deliver what that person has said we could, they’ll look bad and perhaps feel responsible that they encouraged someone else to choose a company that didn’t do right by them.
That’s why our ongoing relationships with prospects and clients are so important. If we’re going to ask people to refer us, we need to build their trust in us so that they feel confident we will deliver. To make sure you’re doing this with your clients, check you’re doing these three things:
Be reliable – Do what you say you will, honor your promises and practice consistency. Failing to do this every so often may not seem like a massive deal, but any instance of unreliability can create a hairline fracture that may eventually break the relationship under pressured circumstances.
Be honest – Tell the truth as much as possible and if you find you’ve been wrong, admit it. Honesty is the best policy but we’re all human and sometimes a situation gets the best of us. If you’ve found you were wrong, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your mistake, apologise and move forward. You’ll often find people respect you more because of it.
Be open – Allowing people to get to know us and understand us is the only way we can make lasting connections. If we don’t express what we’re feeling or thinking by defaulting to a reserved position, people can perceive us as unfriendly or disinterested in them and a lasting connection is missed.
If you can connect with your clients both logically and emotionally, you’ll be able to form truly mutually beneficial relationships where there is much more trust and much less risk.
Do you need to take control of your marketing? Book a free consultation with us to find out how your business can take advantage of both traditional and digital marketing.