My write up for Lanka Business News….
What if the answer is YES? Isn’t it a big surprise for SMEs? Most of the small and medium businesses do not have big marketing budgets and not in a position to invest on a high-caliber sales and marketing team. Though the budgets are small they need more businesses to grow and invest further on marketing to expand the business.
Here are some tips based on the concept of Referral marketing for Small and Medium Businesses to grow despite its current size.
Word of mouth and referral marketing could be a better way to get business for SMEs. Though this fact is commonly known to all there are certain things to be initiated by the SMEs to achieve the real success. Here are some of the tips for you to get more business:
1- One-to-one – Find out the perfect person and do a “one to one.” This concept is getting quite popular where one business owner is promoting another business owner’s products and services.All what you have to do is when you meet someone see whether that person’s business can help you to bring new business, or he / she could be a person who can cross sell your business better. Sit with him / her on a regular basis and see how you can mutually benefit in doing business. For an example if you an event planner and you meet a photographer at an event.See how you can make use of his network to promote your business. The photographer might be having his extended network where your event planning could be promoted. Similarly during your event planning projects you may get requests from clients to suggest a Photographer. Pass such leads to him / her. So you both can mutually benefited while working together.
2- Power Teams – This is another concept similar to the above but slightly differs in the way how you execute. Formulating power team means increasing the potential of your business by collaborating with complementary businesses.For example a creative agency and a printing company can sell their services as one package. Entities in similar business line can create better chances of converting leads by getting together.
3- Educate – After involving in a one-to-one, teach your referral sources how to refer you. Tell them how to communicate your USPs (unique selling proposition) appropriately.
4- Known but Ignored Fact – Always make sure you offer an excellent product / service which out stands the competition. The better way of retaining customers is delighting them – Under promise and over deliver. Though this fact is well-known sometimes companies especially SMEs miss the golden opportunity due to their rush in seeking and serving too many customers at a time.
5- Ask for Business – As mentioned in the bible “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” see the opportunities to promote you, let it be at a networking event or private event or business meeting. Do not be too shy to introduce you or your business. If you find a potential lead go forward and do not wait until it comes to you.
6- Modest Own Publicity or Personal Branding -Let everyone know what you do. Use your Facebook profile, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. to let others know what you do. Showcase your values just like the values and principles of a brand. In order to refer you people should know what you do. Make sure people know about your business in the right way. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is making people aware about your business is different from boasting about yourself publicly.
7- GiversGain – This is quite a famous policy and well-practiced idea by an international business networking association called BNI. This concept is simply laid on the idea of “in order to gain something you have to give something.” Pass referrals to your known contacts and friends. Automatically they will start referring your business to their contacts. The more you give the more you get back.
8- Build Network -Build your professional network by attending external events and functions. Actually it can be called as investing in your network. More the people you know more the chances of your products and services getting referred. Being a small fish in large ocean is better than being a big fish in a pond.
Marketing budgets are no more a restriction on business growth. Keep a clear strategy for referral business at your entity. As an organization your marketing team / you might be working on generating new leads, but the best business comes through the existing customers and contacts too. So clearly have goals to determine how much and what are the resources you are going to allocate each segment.
Happy Marketing !