Book reviews

Book Recommendation: The Referral Engine

There are a lot of reasons to recommend a book, but The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch, has given me one of the best: reading it will make you money. It’s my first book recommendation on Practical Eloquence because of what it did for me:

  • Pushed me over the tipping point to finally launch the blog after a long time of wishing and planning
  • Inspired me to reach out to long-ignored contacts and former customers, and as a result…
  • Led to two new engagements with clients I had not spoken to in years
  • Led to three new promising leads

And that’s just in a few weeks after reading it.

Of course, we all know that referrals are far more powerful than cold-calling, direct marketing and advertising, so nothing new here. The difference is, as Jantsch says: “…there are no real secrets in business—only truths you haven’t yet figured out how to apply.” The Referral Engine teaches you how to organize your business or your daily activities to make it worthy of referrals.

Here are just a few of the key lessons:

Be referable. The first and most important step in turning your business into a referral engine is to make sure it is worthy of referral. First, people have to trust you—to know that if they refer your business to someone else they won’t get burned. Second, they need to have something to say. What is your “core talkable difference”? In other words, why should someone talk about you to third parties, and what would they say? Just going through the discipline of answering these questions can tell you a lot about your business and where you might need to make improvements or changes.

Be consistent. Your employees should be encouraged and trained to ask for referrals consistently. If you are using social networking or writing a blog, be consistent and be early. Don’t just reach out to people when you need them. Give in advance, and you will get when you need it.

Measure and track results. One useful measure is Fred Reicheld’s Net Promoter Score—your customers are either “passives, detractors, or promoters”—and your goal is to eliminate detractors and pump up the ranks of the promoters. Besides providing useful data, the act of measuring will concentrate your mind and that of your associates.

When it comes to this book, you can count me as a promoter.

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1 Comment
  • Jack, read this book and enjoyed it a great deal — did a review on my blog too. John Jantsch really knows his stuff, his Duct Tape Marketing book is also excellent – and he is a really nice guy. I am excited to follow your blog — you always do a superb job. Thanks for the great posts Jack!

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