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7 reasons why relying just on referrals is a very risky marketing strategy

Word of mouth referrals are fantastic. Your prospective client already has some level of trust in you since they have been referred to you by someone they know and trust.

Many firms, rely on referral business to drive business growth, but should they?

I have heard the phrase “I don’t need to do any online marketing, I get all of my business from word-of-mouth.” too many times to count and it is often followed by an eyeroll.

In a world that is reliant on technology to bring information to us in our offline worlds, (Covid19 teach you that) a strong online presence is mandatory.

Saying you only want new business just from referrals is like saying you can live on only water (until the well dries up). It is unrealistic and not sustainable.

Putting all your eggs in one proverbial basket isn’t a smart strategy.

Savvy business owners who want to future proof their firms, understand that you need to have multiple channels to attract new leads. Why have just one tap when you can have a sprinkler system working for you?

Why is relying on referrals only a bad idea:

  1. You are leaving control of your lead generation to the universe (so to speak). Basically, you have no control over it at all. Trusting your clients, partners and staff to recommend you is running your business by chance.
  2. They are not always the ideal client for you – no one likes to turn down new business however if the client is not right for you then this can make the referral more work than it is worth to you. I would much prefer to spend time marketing to attract the ideal client rather than time wasters or high maintenance pains in the proverbial. As would you, I know!
  3. It doesn’t last forever – what happens when your client’s network dries up, they move away, retire or the relationship sours? What are you going to do then? Relying on one source of new business is just bad business.
  4. They are never guaranteed work – the referred client may have heard about you through a friend, family member or co-worker but may not need your services at the time. You could be waiting weeks, months or even years until they ever become a client.
  5. Your ideal clients are searching for you online right now as you read this– they are going about their busy day and part of that day is spent on Google, YouTube, reading emails, on social Media – basically online. What are you doing to get discovered by them?
  6. It is unreliable – you don’t know when and if they will happen. You don’t know how large or small the client will be. They may not be ready for your services immediately. You have no idea if you will get a referral when you need it. Would you sit around waiting for someone to feed you if you were hungry?
  7. You are missing out on quality clients – while. You sitting back waiting for referrals clients your competitors that don’t rely on referrals to grow their business are taking your new business by being proactive. They understand that you need multiple taps.

When it comes to marketing, typically what happens is that you don’t think of until work dries up then you madly jump into it to generate business. But you forget that it takes time to find quality leads who want to work with you. Then you get some referrals and get busy again and turn off your marketing tap yet again. And the cycle goes on and on… especially when you don’t treat it like a core business activity.

Do you want to continue that cycle forever?

Referral marketing is a great way to build your business’ reputation, but for long term survival, you need to have a balanced strategy including online marketing to reach potential customers who need your services. Man cannot survive on water alone (especially when there is so much wine available)

Do you have a strategy to move your business forward? I can help