Marketing your business can be a hit-and-miss activity at times, so any guidance that makes this more effective has got to be worth paying attention to. I've written elsewhere about the importance of building your referral partner network and word of mouth marketing, so when I read Geoffrey James' article on "How to Build a Network of Contacts", expanding on Joanne Black's book, "No More Cold Calling", I felt I just had to mention it here too.
This IS a sales book, but the information on developing your referral contacts is worth noting.
Black reminds us that there are 4 types of people who trust us enough to recommend us or refer to us, and notes that if we cultivate these relationships, we develop a network that will help generate word of mouth and direct referrals for our business without our having to spend time (and money) on less fruitful marketing efforts.
So, who are these 4 types of super-value folk? You can read about them in more detail in the article and Black's book, but in brief, they are: your satisfied clients (easier for coaches to cultivate, maybe, than therapists, but still an important grouping); your family and friends (they know you and trust you, don't they?); people who have had your services recommended to them (and if the recommender lets you know they have passed your details on, you can follow-up with them, safe in the knowledge that they will be receptive to your call); and finally, people you meet through connecting with the people in the last category (e.g. you meet with a contact who has had your service recommended to them, and they introduce you to a third party, thus passing on a residual message of trust that gives you credibility with the new contact).
To expand on these ideas and grow your business, check out my Business Breakthrough Programme, where I outline some key steps and present some tools that you can use to help increase your visibility and recognition factor with potential referrers.