Customers at a coffee house.

In the 21st Century, lots of businesses are turning to technology and artificial intelligence to sell products, increase productivity, reduce overhead, and grow their companies. While technology can be amazingly efficient, there are certain aspects of building a successful company that it just can’t replace, such as customer service and sales.

If you’ve ever breathed a sigh of relief when you dialed an 800 number and a friendly, knowledgeable customer service representative (a real person) promptly answered the phone, you get this one. It sure beats responding to an endless number of prompts that results in you slamming the phone down in frustration. The selling process is the same – there’s a human element that cannot be replaced by technology.

At AdviCoach, our business coaches are asking people to take a step back for a moment and understand that one of the best ways to seal the deal, is with referrals, but it starts with human interaction.

We Have Become Too Reliant on Technology

Do you feel that too few of your salespeople are making their quotas? Do you feel like you should be getting more traction from your social media posts? If your answer is “yes” to both questions, perhaps you and your sales team are relying too heavily on technology. Think, when was the last time you sealed a deal by a Facebook direct message or an email?

While our coaches rave about technology, it’s not the answer to everything. Technology can’t read a customer’s mind, and it can’t find solutions to the customer’s problems. When sales people stop having real conversations with customers, when customers walk away with a “so so” experience, sales suffer.

When John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine, did the initial research for his book, he became convinced the obvious way to generate referrals wasn’t obvious at all. He learned that generating more referrals doesn’t have much to do with marketing campaigns, referral tactics, and strategic partnerships. “The way to generate more is simply to be more referable,” says John Jantsch, and that’s what we’ve been coaching all along.

Focus on Becoming More ‘Referable’

Business owners are in the habit of spending so much money trying to drum up new business, some of them forget the undeniable value of happy customers. The truth is that if they focus on delivering an incredible customer experience, if they focus on being more “referable,” referrals will come naturally without having to constantly chase them down.

The recipe is simple: When you do a great job, when you exceed your customer’s expectations, and deliver an experience they want to rave about, the referral follows. Start making every decision with a referral in mind, and watch how your profits rise accordingly.

Making Referrals Your New Standard

What if you didn’t have to ask for referrals because each of your customers referred at least one customer to you, would you be doing things differently? Let’s imagine for a moment you measured your success by your referral rate, which you aim to be 100%:

  • Would that make you think more about every aspect of your business?
  • Would you make sure you over delivered every time?
  • Would you make sure every client got the results you promised?
  • Would your idea of an ideal client change?
  • Would you be able to assure prospects would be so happy with you that they’d refer business, even if they didn’t become a customer?
  • Would customer satisfaction become so critical, that it would change how you followed up 30, 60, or 90 days after a sale or transaction?

Seth Godin, the founder of Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!), told Mr. Jantsch in an interview, “If the marketplace isn’t talking about you, there’s a reason.” So, pause and think about that for a moment. What can you start doing today to become more referable?

To build a business that has a steady stream of referrals, you have to get people talking for the right reasons. No one is going to refer companies with poor products or services, that are not memorable or that deliver below average customer experiences.

If you want to succeed in business, start by creating a stellar customer experience. Find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you can do that, your company will become highly referable and people won’t be able to stop talking about your company. For effective ideas on how to make that happen, contact us to connect with a business coach!