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The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself Paperback – September 25, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
As lean times force businesses to reduce advertising and marketing budgets, more and more companies are trying to develop new clients through word-of-mouth referrals. Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) champions such an approach, asserting that many widely referred businesses do very little when it comes to traditional advertising and that happy customers and actively engaged partners account for a great deal of their efforts. According to Jantsch, referral behavior is a primal activity rooted in our survival instinct and satisfying our need to connect with other people and mint social currency. Jantsch offers practical solutions on how to build a powerful referral engine by developing a systematic, consistent, and replicable approach and exploiting content, using social networking, and building strategic partnerships. He illustrates his points with examples from such companies as work clothing manufacturer Carhartt with its Tough Jobs blog; Southwest Airlines, which relies heavily on hiring the right people to be the champions of the brand; and TerraCycle, a recycling company whose nontraditional business practices generated word-of-mouth attention. A swift, appealing read and a thorough primer on the power of letting your products and customers speak for themselves. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A swift, appealing read and a thorough primer on the power of letting your products and customers speak for themselves."
"Frankly, I had no idea how John was going to top Duct Tape Marketing. The book is a classic. But with The Referral Engine, John puts you in the driver's seat and shows you the steps to achieving marketing success without a huge budget. Go no further. Buy this now."
-Chris Brogan, coauthor of Trust Agents
"I don't think there are many people who know more about small business marketing than John does, and I'm certain that there's no one more generous in sharing tips and insights. What, exactly, are you waiting for? This book will pay for itself in one day."
-Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
"For Zappos, part of delivering a great customer experience means developing personal and emotional connections, both with employees and customers. These are the types of connections people talk about with their friends and family. This book will show you how to give people something to talk about."
-Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com
"Who knew that there's a science to referrals? Not I-but now that I know, I want you to benefit from John's expertise. In a sense, a jacket blurb is the ultimate referral, and I'm here to blurb this book because it will help you succeed in business."
-Guy Kawasaki, cofounder of Alltop
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Top Customer Reviews
As if you need persuasion, Jantsch first builds the case for why you need referrals in your business. That part seems like a "no-brainer" to me so I won't elaborate here. The next chapter is a "no-brainer" as well, but one often overlooked, and that is the importance of how employees view the importance of building referrals. This is a 3-pronged stool; the employee must know clearly what is expected, have the proper tools to do what is expected, and receive appropriate praise and feedback when expectations are met. This, of course, is predicated on the notion that your employees first believe in the company. If they truly believe that your company offers world class products or service, then they are doing a disservice to their customers by not asking them to refer their friends.
Chapter 3 examines the Path to Referral by introducing the 4 "C's" of marketing; content - context - connection - community. The question is posed, "Where does your company fit in?" Here we examine the customer life cycle and an expanded view of collaboration; collaborating with prospects, customers, staff and businesses within your network.
The next few chapters look at building a referral system that is right for you. Jantsch covers just about every aspect of referrals and sprinkles in plenty of real life business examples of these systems being successfully used.
Once you reach Chapter 10, your mind will be swimming with new ideas you want to implement right away, but Janstch leaves no stone unturned as here we look at what to do when referrals start coming in to do business with you. We look at what can be learned from these referrals and what to do at this point in the process. There are also some valuable resource links for online tools that will be essential for small businesses to build a successful referral network.
Chapter 11 looks at developing "Referral -specific Campaigns" such as landing pages, community events and exchanging services for advertising. Chapters 12 & 13 wrap things up with Snack-sized suggestions that looks at successful referral systems for specific types of businesses, with plenty of real-life examples, and a workshop for putting it all to work for you.
This book has been a pleasure to read and I've learned a lot from it. I have only one knock on the book. Mr. Jantsch desperately needs an editor. The work is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and typos. If you can overlook that, this gook is a gem.
It's worth noting that the reason I am writing this review is because the process Jantsch used for marketing the book led me to experience the power of his core ideas firsthand. He suggests developing content with value, disseminating it to others, then asking them to share their insights after they have consumed it. I found out the book was coming out from Drew McClelland's blog, clicked a link that allowed me to get a copy before it was released to the public, read it, then was gently reminded by Jantsch (via e-mail) that I could post my review here, complete with a link to make it easy.
The point? He walked his talk and proved to me that it worked...and now I am endorsing the book with no reservations (and with no money coming my way) because he did what he said he would do, and because this book will help you build your business...he proved that with the way he used his techniques to turn me into a raving fan, or perhaps a piston in his referral engine!