I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard prospects say, ‘I’m a referral-based business. I don’t need any marketing or advertising.’
I can understand how most business owners might think this is true. The common referral scenario tends to play out something like this; a prospect sits down across from a businessperson. The businessperson asks, ‘How did you hear about me?’ The prospect replies ‘My friend so-and-so mentioned you’.
There you have it. Done deal. Who needs advertising? A referral-based business, right?
While it’s true an initial referral may kick things off, there’s a crucial part of the process often neglected by business owners that directly leads to a prospect deciding to become a customer.
Truth is, even in modern times, consumers basically follow an age-old path to deciding whether or not to do business with someone.
For the sake of this article (and simplicity) I’ve boiled it down to three major points. I call them the Opportunity Point, Decision Point and Contact point.
The Opportunity Point? That’s easy. It’s when someone is in need of a service or product and can’t think of a handy resource. Of course Google is there to help in the search but most of the time consumers end up with an endless list of unfamiliar options. So what do most folks do? You guessed it – ask around. Family, friends and close associates become a key component in initiating an opportunity for new business.
The Decision Point is where a consumer decides whether or not it’s worth investing their time and effort pursuing a relationship with a business. A website is the greatest tool a business has to increase the likelihood that this happens. Unfortunately, it’s often the most neglected component. Most referral-based businesses fail to realize their website is akin to a digital storefront where a prospect can discreetly take a peek at what they have to offer. If the website doesn’t live up to a consumers expectations, they simply move on — making any referral completely irrelevant.
The Contact Point is the last stop in the process. Once a consumer passes the Decision Point, all that’s left for them to do is to actually make contact with the business. Ideally, this leads to the scenario I described at the beginning of this article — a prospect sits down across from a businessperson and the relationship begins.
At the Booth Bay Group, we understand each point in the process and we work hard to manage it for the benefit of clients. Our business has grown over the years thanks to referral opportunities supported by a compelling web presence. So go ahead, take a peek at our website and decide for yourself if we’re right for you. After that, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to discuss how you can help convert your opportunities into clients.
Gene J. Simonetti MBA
Chief Business Strategist / Senior Creative Manager