13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2010
There's nothing totally unique about any one idea in "The Referral Engine." There's nothing unique about a 5lb. bag of sugar either. Of course that bag of sugar could be in the hands of a skilled pastry chef - or it could be in mine. I can tell you there's a pretty big difference. John Jantsch is the Head Chef of Marketing. He has an almost magical way of accumulating massive quantities of more basic ideas, sifting them, combining them in perfect proportions, and then turning them into recipes for delicious success. The end result almost defies identification of those original ingredients. A great chef understands every tool, and exactly what his oven will do at each temperature. John Jantsch understands small business owners to the extent he crawls right inside our heads to tweak attitudes - and he does it by slowly building a case logically, step by step, until you can't help but agree with what has just become so obvious.
In "Referral Engine" one of the first things he tackles is a business owner's reluctance to ask for referrals. I know that until I was exposed to Jantsch's material, I hated it! I expected my clients to love me and spread the love without me asking - and in fact, often times that did happen. No matter how good you think you are now, if you're like me, you have no idea how great your untapped potential in this area is.
I think the thing I like most about Referral Engine, and Jantsch's work in general, is that there is no dishonesty, no gimmicks, no use of trickery. I've always believed the path to success lies in creating a great product or service for which one charges a fair price. It's an approach built on creating a great product or service to begin with. Jantsch shares that approach. For example, Chapter 5 is titled "Your Authentic Strategy." The underlying premise of this work is the need to create a company worth referring. The second key idea is that you get ahead by helping others first. We're encouraged to partner with other businesses, and to always be looking for ways to help others, to connect, to refer. There are no one-way streets in Jantsch world. You clearly give as well as get. The icing on this cupcake is the multitude of examples and references that help one understand just what all of this means and how it's done.
Then, once the underlying foundation is in place, Jantsch starts with the mechanics, and, unlike other "idea" based authors - many of whom I also love - Jantsch gets into the guts of the issue. Here's how. Here's where you go. Do this next. There's no sugar coating. This stage isn't about the tasty result. This is about the process. Jantsch doesn't just cover the need to blog, he starts at the basement. For example, from P. 131, "Keyword rich" covers the way you need to use keywords in your blog in order to make it accessible. Sure, you might want to buy another book just on SEO, but in this one section, Jantsch manages to succinctly distill the basics that you will need - including providing tools like [...] which will help you.
If you take all of this book to heart, and implement it fully, not only will you have a great referral machine, you'll have a great business. This one book may not have all the information you'll need to improve all of the other parts of your business, but it will help you identify parts that aren't working because they will keep you from being talk, or referral, worthy. This book, assuming one has an Amazon Prime membership - and every small business owner should - is $11.69 today, its release date. I'd be surprised if your return on investment wasn't at least 1,000 times that. On the other hand, you could order 20 to 30 other books to cover the various aspects covered here - and I would hope for that, you'd have greater results, but somehow I seriously doubt it.
I love this book, and I think you will too.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
Summary: I thought I knew just about everything about referrals and how to generate them. This book proved me wrong.
Simply put, if you're in a business that gets customers via referral, this may be one of the 3 or 4 most-valuable books you ever read.
Three takeaways from this book:
1. Referrals are too important to be left to chance.
If you're good at what you do and you follow the right strategy, you can produce referrals with regularity, like throwing sticks of TNT into a lake will bring fish to the surface (sorry, PETA).
The key: follow the right referral strategy. And Jantsch helps you do this, with exercises and case studies.
Example: Your "core talkable difference" about your company, which helps others refer you more easily, should elicit this sort of response: "Nobody does that!"
2. Let customers and vendors create attractive content.
You can use blogging and/or podcasting to make incredibly valuable connections with new customers and strategic partners.
It's simple: Call your best customers, interview them for 10-15 minutes about how your product/service helped them, and post the audio on your web site, blog, iTunes, and other spots online.
You get instant content that resonates with prospects considering your company. Plus, when your customer tells their friends to check out your interview of them, you get free, targeted web traffic.
Don't stop with customers, though. Interview your suppliers, non-competitors, vendors, and others. Anyone with an audience you want to reach is a potential interview candidate.
3. Exceed expectations.
"Here's one of my favorite techniques," writes Jantsch. "When a customer orders a product or engages your services, toss in something extra."
This is perhaps the easiest way to over-deliver and prime the referral pump.
Examples include the car dealer who delivers a balloon bouquet to the office of his customer ... who tells curious co-workers about his new car, which leads to referrals.
Or you can simply provide regular status updates to your customers -- when the product will arrive, what to expect when it does, etc.
There are more than three takeaways, of course. I especially liked the last chapter, Snack-sized Suggestions, with 51 different referral systems you can copy and use in one day. I once paid $99 for a set of 93 referral systems similar to these, so this chapter alone is a tremendous value.
I give this book 5+ stars for any smart business owner looking for a cost-effective edge in getting more clients and selling to them more often.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
Really well written and some interesting company profiles and points, unfortunately, the author forgot to write about how to get referrals. How is that possible? I have no idea. My only guess is the publisher suggested a re-positioning of the book in the 11th hour. With a different title, might be a 5-star book, but you can't sell a doughnut and call it a burger.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2010
I haven't made one cold call in years and that's how it should be. In John's new book "The Referral Engine," you'll learn how to create a business that sells itself. Why waste your time calling other people, when it's much easier to close sales when they call you? I don't read many books but this one struck a cord with me because I've noticed that if you make yourself referable, you are more likely to receive no potential client calls. John is obviously the king of doing this for small business, so this is more of a bible.
27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
I was really looking forward to this follow up to the author's masterpiece, Duct Tape Marketing. I gave up on The Referral Engine somewhere in chapter six. This volume is completely incoherent. There is nothing in this book (at least through chapter six) that would indicate it is a book about generating referrals. Also, the number of typographical errors is appalling. Save your money. If you really are a masochist and insist on struggling through this book, borrow it from a friend or the library.