Hey, guys, I have a special episode today. One of the most popular episodes that I’ve ever done for my podcast was when I talked about referral systems. That was the fourth episode that I ever did, and, today, we’re revisiting it, updating it, and I’m sharing some more results with some more ideas to help you implement these referral systems into your own business. Over the next 15 minutes, I’m going to share with you a ton of action items packed into this session. My goal is that you will be able to go through this, write down ideas for yourself, and start working on your own referral systems. I believe that referrals are one of the best ways to generate business, warm leads, hot leads, and growth.
The very first referral system that I believe you should set up for yourself are what I call your ambassadors. These are the people that are going out there, sharing how great you are, what you’ve done for them, with really no … There’s no tracking on that, they’re not affiliates of yours, they’re not expecting anything in return. They’re just going out there and saying, “Man, I love what they’re doing.” Yes, it is possible to set up systems in place so that you have people that are singing your praises.
Let me share with you some of the ways that we do this for ourselves. We have three ways that we empower the people that want to be ambassadors for the Branning Group so that they can go out there and share what we’re doing for them. Number one, the first way that we encourage people to be an ambassador for the Branning Group is by asking them to leave positive reviews after we have helped them with something for free. So, what that looks like, we get people that ask us questions all the time. As a digital marketing firm, people are going out there trying to do things themselves and we want to support that as much as we can. I mean, there’s only so many resources we have to give but we don’t mind giving back to the community.
So, when we hop on a free call, we serve them, answer their questions, show them what they need to do, and then we ask them for a review. We ask them to post the review in one of three places: on Facebook, on our YouTube channel under a video that is related to the questions they asked, or shooting a short cellphone testimonial video. Now, either one of those three is a great business builder for us, but for them, it doesn’t really take too much of their time. We know that we’re kind of exchanging time for time, right? So, this is a great way for them to help us build our business, our brand, our audience, and it’s a good way for them to get some free support, and we’re asking them after we’ve already done them a favor. That’s how we help our ambassadors go out there, by leaving positive reviews.
The second thing we do for our ambassadors, we want to empower them by making it easy for them to share content that we’ve created that they enjoy. One of the ways that the Branning Group builds our brand online is free content. I talk about that quite a bit, but content helps determine how people view you. It elevates your status to them. If they have no idea what you do, if there’s no videos or blogs or anything for them to read, to learn more about you, there’s nothing for them to share.
So, what we do is we create content at the end. We encourage people to share that content with friends, subscribe to our channels, et cetera. It’s a way for us to find those people that are needing our help, give them the answers they’re looking for in scale, right, by creating content and it’s read by hundreds or thousands of people, and then sharing with them the next steps that they can do.
The third thing that we do to help people become great ambassadors for the Branning Group is we actually send them stuff. One of the things that we started doing is actually sending people gifts that are branded to us, and these are things that they’ll actually use, with our rubber bracelets that have, “Be bold,” on them, which is a Branning Group statement. We’ll send out mugs, water bottles, et cetera, that people can use. They’re actually pretty high-quality stuff. People would go around sipping the water bottle, drinking out of the mug, wearing the bracelet, et cetera, and it opens up conversations. That’s how we empower our people, our audience, to be ambassadors for the Branning Group. It’s all about them spreading the word about the great work that we’ve done. They’re doing it without any expectation of things in return.
The second type of referral system that you should set up are allies. Allies are people that are serving your target customer, but they are not competing with you. What does that look like? For me as a digital marketer, I serve small businesses and solopreneurs that are looking to grow their business online. Who else is serving those small business owners and solopreneurs that are not competing with me? Well, it could be print marketing companies, people that do business cards. It could be accountants. It could be et cetera, dot, dot, dot, right? We have a full list on our side of other businesses that are serving our clients but they’re not competing with us. We love our allies.
Here’s how we establish power partner relationships with allies that will send us clients that need our help and we can do the same in return. Check this out. Number one, we write down exactly what that ally’s pain points are, right? It’s different for each person. The print marketer probably has a really dialed-in digital marketing setup. They have the website. They have the Facebook presence. They’re pretty set up, right? They’re in the marketing game already. They’re doing a good job.
So where can I help the print marketer? I’m guessing that I could help them by coming up with some content ideas, posting a video review of them, helping them with some Facebook ads. These are things that they could probably use some help with. It’s probably not working as well as they want to right now. And, most importantly, I can send them referrals.
Referrals are like a piggy bank, all right? Sometimes, you get some out without putting in, but it’s rare. I think the best relationships with your allies start with you putting referrals into that piggy bank so that you can withdraw some later. The best relationships are one where there’s a give and take. I’m giving referrals, they’re giving them back, it’s a give and give, right? It’s like a constant fluid motion back and forth. Sometimes I’ll give more, sometimes they’ll give more, but it’s all about who can … It’s about a constant flow, back and forth, right? It’s like one of those carousels, right? It goes round and around. We’re all just helping each other grow. That’s what I look at first is, do I have someone … Number one, what’s their pain points? Number two, do I have someone that I can send their way?
Number three, if I found a pain point, how can I solve it for free or at no cost so that they feel like I’m on their team, and that they’re now indebted to me in some way. That can be different for different people. For an accountant, that can mean that I say, “Look, I want to create a power partner relationship. I want to work with these types of companies. Do you serve them?” They say, “Yes.” I’ll say, “Look, what I want to do is I want to do something for you at no cost.” That could be a lead generation campaign, that could be me creating a simple funnel for them. There’s a lot of different ways that I can support their business where it doesn’t cost me a lot of money, but the end result would be them connecting me with some power partner referrals that could really help me grow my business. That’s awesome.
But allies don’t just fall out of the sky. We have to work for our allies. We have to go find them, recruit them, show them who we are. They probably get approached by people on a pretty regular basis. So, if we know that to be true, if we know that the print marketer is probably getting tapped on the shoulder by other digital marketers on a regular basis, what can we do to show them we’re different? That really comes down to the presentation that we make, leading with gifts, because most people lead with, “Who can you send to me?” But if you can start the conversation by giving to them, you’re putting yourself in a position to win.
The other thing is coming up with a really cool referral partner system on top of you starting that relationship off with a gift. If they know that they send people to you and you are going to give them a gift in return, monetary gift of high value, now they’re really incentivized to send people your way. Because now, they’re … already have these relationships, and you’re providing one additional revenue stream for them outside of what they’re already doing. It’s a huge potential. They see it. You’re setting yourself up for referrals to win-win all the way around.
So, what do you do now, now that I’ve given you these ideas? Write down who is a good power partner in your area. Write down the pain points that you can help them with. Maybe it’s leads that you can send back to them first. Maybe it’s a connection for them that you can help them with. Maybe it’s just saying, “Hey, I’d love for you to make a post about me. Can I put some cash in your hand if you do that? If you sent an email to your clients, introducing them to me, can I just put cash in your hand first, before they ever set up a call with me?”
The key is being aggressive, because the right power partner can have a huge impact on your business. I had one power partner that, after I did some work for him, I didn’t charge him for it, and he was like, “What can I do for you?” I said, “Send an email to your list, letting them know what you’ve done putting them to your material and then letting them know that I helped you with it.”
It was huge. It was a game-changer. He did that, he sent the email out. I ended up getting, I think, three or four different people that I got a strategy call with. Ended up closing thousands of dollars in business and I still work with some of those people today, two years later. Huge difference. Major impact. So, who can you find that’s going to be a long-term ally for you?
Hey, all right, let’s talk about the last part of the referral system, and then I’m going to share a bonus right after this third part. The third referral system you have to have set up are affiliates. Affiliates are people that refer you to their friends and family with the understanding that you are going to be giving them a reward, most likely money, to thank them for sending them over, right?
For example, I am an affiliate of a sales trainer, Eric Lofholm. When I send him a client, and I say, “Hey, Eric, this guy needs some help with sales training,” or, “he needs a sales script,” or something, Eric knows that I’m expecting a reward because he’s already told me, “If you send somebody to me, I’m going to give you a percentage of the sale.” So, when I send him a referral, I know that I’m going to be getting something back.
There are people who will gladly share your information with their friends and family, and then expect nothing in return. Those are the ambassadors. Then there’s people that they will gladly share referrals to you with the understanding that you are going to be sending referrals back. Those are your allies. In my opinion, what I have found personally, the most active referral partners are your affiliates, those people that are motivated by the instant gratification of the reward that you are sending them. That has been the key for me.
Right now, I have a little over 100 affiliates. Not all of them are active. Many of them are. And they send us referrals that keep everything going. It is so important for you to find an affiliate that is motivated, and it could put you in front of some of your best clients in exchange for them getting a monetary reward.
Now, one of the most common questions I get from clients that I help, because we set up an affiliate program with every single informational course that we design. One of the most common questions I get is, “Okay, Alex, I have an affiliate. What do I pay them? What do I reward them with?” I really think it depends on the product that you’re selling.
For my online courses, typically, I give 50% of my online course sales to my affiliates. When it comes to services like the done for you stuff, like creating a campaign or building a website, I give 20%. So, the 20% is just enough because my costs are so high, whereas with a course, I don’t really have a lot of costs except for the customer service. So, when they get 50%, they’re actually getting more than me, because that doesn’t factor in the credit card processing payments and all that stuff. My affiliates make more than I do when they sell one of my courses. That’s affiliate. Affiliate network is huge.
Now, I want to talk about a bonus way where you find someone who is an affiliate partner of yours but can really help blow up your business, and that is The Dream 100. Check this book out. The Dream 100 was first introduced by a guy named Chet Holmes. But The Dream 100 was really expounded on by my man, Dana Derricks, in this book, The Dream 100 book.
The Dream 100 is a concept where you find power partners within that are talking to your clients, and you incentivize them with gifts you get in front of them. Then you do something like a joint webinar or a joint product or something like that together. It’s all about finding people that give you massive scale. Affiliates that can bring you a couple people a year? Those are awesome. Keep them as affiliates. But when you find someone who’s got an audience or a tribe of hundreds of people that could be your potential prospects, The Dream 100 is something that you should highly consider looking into.
The Dream 100 is … I’ll give you the long and short of it. Highly recommend you pick up the book, though. The Dream 100 is about identifying who those people are, and then sending them a gift to make sure that you get your message read, right? Because people that are high up, they have people that read their mail, right? They have people that go through their email inbox. But when you get a package, who do you think opens it? You think the secretary opens that? Heck, no. The person themself, that’s the one opening the package and reading what’s inside. So, when you put a package right in front of your Dream 100, right on their doorstep, you’ve got their attention.
So, The Dream 100 is about creating an opportunity for the affiliate that makes them go, “I absolutely need to do a deal with this guy. Number one, the gift caught my attention. Number two, the offer he’s giving me is irresistible.” And for you, The Dream 100 concept is about incentivizing people with a large tribe or audience to do something jointly with you because that first sale is just the first sale.
One of the sayings that I live by is, “A customer that’s a buyer, is a buyer, is a buyer.” They just keep buying from you. The first time they buy from you could be The Dream 100 promotion that you do. The second time they buy from you, it could be an upsell or a coaching package or something else. It’s all about using The Dream 100 to get a whole bunch of brand new customers into your business.
Those are the three referral types. Number one, your ambassadors, the people that just love you and want to tell their friends about you because they care and they think you’re awesome. Number two, the allies, the people that are serving your customers. They want to share referrals back and forth. Number three, your affiliates, the people that are setting appointments up for you, selling your products, because they know they’re going to get paid for it.
And the bonus, The Dream 100, something that I have started doing since my very first referrals episode over a year ago. The Dream 100 has really changed the game for me in a lot of ways. I’ve had webinars where before the webinar, I just would never have had an opportunity to talk to some of the people that I’ve been put in a position to talk to. Some of my best clients have come from Dream 100 webinars. It’s been great. The Dream 100 is a really cool concept. I highly recommend it.
If you have any questions about anything that I’ve talked about in this episode, reach out to me, Alex@BranningGroup.com, or set up a call, AlexBranning.com/call. You guys are awesome. Have a great day. Build those referral systems.
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