Dear Joe: I need Endless Referrals

Hey Joe,
I read some of your great info on Biznik…one of the older articles you wrote was about Six Ways to Persuade…grow business. While I have many thrilled clients that tell ME how much they love my services and products…how do you get them telling others? I am definitely a connector myself as described in The Tipping Point and I tell everyone when I am pleased and not so pleased but it seems most of my clients feel they need to be solicited for a referral instead of volunteering. Bainbridge, my location is all about word of mouth for success. I need help before my ship sinks…
Thanks in advance if you’re willing to share any ideas.

Thanks for your question, Chris.

I see you joined Biznik three days ago and you work in “spa-hair services on Bainbridge Island in Washington.” In three days you found me and were impressed enough that you asked me a question.

In a way, I think that’s the answer.

What you really want is to be found. At the New Marketing Summit in Boston last month, Todd Defren, principal for SHIFT Communications, said, “You are in the findability department. The marketing department is dead.”

You are your own marketing department. You have to find ways to have people find you.

Word of mouth is absolutely a powerful way to do that. What are some other ways?

1. Keep a blog. You found me here. Now we’re having a conversation. You could be creative with your receipts and say “check out my blog at”

2. Make sure you know what you’re selling. Read The First Three Numbers, The First Three Questions, and then try out your own positioning statement here.

3. Read books on the subject. Bob Burg’s Endless Referrals is a good place to start.

4. You can create valuable giveaways that cost you almost nothing. You could pull together a helpful Bainbridge phone numbers of popular businesses. You can use “social proof” to include your business information alongside the names of the most popular businesses on Bainbridge because you belong among them. You could give away a refrigerator magnet so clients’ friends see the magnets when they visit.

5. You can create a referral program. Give a customer a free manicure for each new customer they bring in.

6. Ask for a preferral instead of a referral. I just read this from fellow Biznik Bill Doerr. Thought it was smart.

7. Ask for a testimonial. Post it. In Six Ways, “commitment and consistency” is pretty powerful. Get your thrilled customers to commit their thrill to paper. Offer to write up what they just said and email to them for confirmation and attribution. (I see you have some testimonials on your site. How about a back link to their pages in exchange for a link to yours? See my Endorsements page for an example.)

By the way, don’t be shy about writing your own testimonial and asking a happy customer for attribution. That way you can shape the quote to work harder for you — and you can make sure that the sum of your endorsements give the whole picture you want to paint.

I hope this helps.

Oh, and if you liked this, write me an endorsement on Biznik!



  1. Thank you Joe for your quick help with ideas for generating word of mouth business. I will definitely implement some of the ideas, some of the others I already practice. Tonight after dinner when I payed the check, I left the receipt with my business card, on which I had written thank you. Just another idea.

  2. Joe,
    I just discovered you’d referenced my Biznik ariticle on your blog. Thank you. Considering the great work you do I am honored by the recognition.

    I must say that you really do have a nice, eclectic and not overly stuffy approach that comes through loud and clear. Just wanted to acknowledge you on that.

    Keep up the great insights!

  3. Thank you, Bill, for your note and thought-provoking provoking article!


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