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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
Top customer reviews
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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.
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!