The Referral Engine Audio and eBook Formats

My new book,The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, is now available in audio book and ebook formats.

You can start reading the Kindle, Nook and iBook (through iTunes store) formats right now

Or, you can start listening to my voice for 6 hrs and 50 mins with the audio version from Audible and on iTunes

I’ve also produced a handy guide for strategic partner networks, book clubs and mastermind groups that would like to go through the book together. This guides breaks down each chapter with key points, key questions and suggested action steps. You can get The Referral Engine Book Guide here

The Referral Engine Launch Day Bonus

Note: When an author launches a new book (well, at least this author) it’s kind of a big personal deal. So, I know I’ve been a bit commercial of late in promotion of my new book, but the good news is today is launch day so regular old thoughts on helping your grow your business to return. Thanks for your patience, trust and support.

The Referral EngineMy new book, The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business To Market Itself is finally available to ship! In fact, the online retailers are blowing it out at as low as 55% off during the launch. Go to The Referral Engine book site for details.

The buzz for the book online has been tremendous and the reviews over the top positive. To continue the momentum I want to make you an offer to take action today. I have a library of incredible interviews available exclusively to those who buy my new book today.

Here’s the deal –

The book has received praise from the following thought and business leaders in the form of a blurb on the book’s jacket.

As a bonus for purchasing today you’ll receive audio recordings of the interviews I did with each. These are not pitches for the book, these are deep conversations about their thoughts on marketing and business.

  • Chris Brogan, coauthor of Trust Agents
  • Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
  • Guy Kawasaki, cofounder of Alltop
  • David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR
  • Tony Hsieh, CEO,
  • Bob Burg, coauthor of The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More
  • Marcy Shinder, vice president, American Express OPEN

I addition I’ve included double bonus interviews from some of the people you’ll meet in the book who also know a thing or two about referrals.

  • Ivan Misner, founder of BNI
  • Stephen MR Covey, author of The Speed of Trust
  • Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy
  • Zingermans Community of Businesses, a chat with Ari and Mo

That’s 11 interviews in all with some folks I consider the brightest minds in marketing today.

Order today and send a copy of your receipt to [email protected] and you’ll receive your special link to download or listen to this entire library.

Go to The Referral Engine book site to choose your favorite online retailer – you can also send me the receipt from an offline retailer to qualify as well.

Thanks for all your support, you truly inspire me.

The Confusing Opportunity of Referral

The Referral EngineOne of the reasons I wrote The Referral Engine is because some opinions and perceptions from business owners and marketers about referrals in business didn’t make sense to me – and they still don’t really.

I conducted a poll of my readers consisting of six questions that I think are relevant in the consideration of referral strategies and tactics and I find the answers both confusing and dripping with opportunity.

Here are the questions and my observations

1) What percentage of your leads would you estimate comes by way of word of mouth or referral?

Over 55% said that more than 50% of their business came by this method. Not surprising really as this is what I’ve heard for years and speaks to the power of referrals as a business building strategy. 15.2% said over 90% of their business was through referral. So, what about you? Where does your business come from? Do you do anything to actively create referral opportunities?

2) Do you use any method to educate your referral sources about your business?

Less than half answered yes to this question. The only complaint I ever hear from people on this subject is that they often receive the wrong kind of referrals when they ask. First you’ve got to understand what the right kind of referral, ideal referral, is for your business and then you’ve got to help your referral sources understand how they would spot your ideal customer – and a few other things as well.

3) How many referrals have you personally made in the last 30 days?

70% of respondents claimed they had made 1-5 referrals. 5% had made over 10 referrals in the last 30 days. Making referrals is simply the flip side of receiving them and if you’re not actively making referrals you are probably limiting your ability to grow your business through referrals. One of the things that every business needs to do is build a dream team of “best of class” providers so that when their customers need products and services beyond what they sell, they can refer a member of their select team. This is how you become the go to person for your clients and it’s the first step in building a referral network platform. (See my Make a Referral Monday idea.)

4) What’s the number one consideration you make when giving a referral?

I had a list of 5-6 answers for people to choose from but “I trust they will do a good job” came in with 66% and “they provided me with a great experience” gobbled up the rest. Trust is always the most significant factor in a person’s willingness to refer, but a great experience is what gets them talking – you’ve got to have both.

5) Has social media use changed the way you generate referrals?

Only 28% said yes definitely social media changed referral generation and 21% said not at all. I think this is an area of great opportunity. So many people still look at social tools and social behavior as a way to get in front of more prospects. I think the first place to install a set of socially charged processes is with your existing customers and network. Do that and you will build deeper relationships and create engagement with those you meet much quicker than relying solely on offline methods. The next time your meet someone at an event connect with them online too.

6) Do you actively seek strategic referral partnerships with other businesses?

Only 14% said they had a formal partner program while 44% said not at all or wish we did more. In my mind this is one of the most exciting opportunities going for marketers. If you “get it” – you’re producing content that educates, you’re using social media to get closer to your customers and you’re fusing online and offline tools to create a better customer experience, then recruit your team of providers and start showing them how you can market each other. Do this and you’ll never have to lead generate again. (This idea is covered in great detail in The Referral Engine.)

So, what about you? Where do you fall in this list of questions?

5 Creative Ways to Get More Referrals

referral bonusThe first step to getting more referrals is to be more referable. No matter what you do to motivate your referral sources if they don’t trust you’ll do a good job, game over. But, even if you are highly referable there are things you can do to motivate your customers to willingly participate in your referral system more fully by simply adding a few creative ideas that spark their participation.

Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of ways that businesses from all industries have approached this idea and, a bit like a squirrel collects nuts, I’ve collected dozens of them and put them in my new book The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself. Below are a few of those nuggets.

Heating and air conditioning contractor—During the sales process they used testimonial letters from satisfied clients and then asked the clients if they would be willing to provide a similar letter if everything worked out as promised. The customers and technician agreed on a quoted price, the technician completed the work, and then before collecting payment, offered an additional fifty-dollar referral fee if the clients wrote a letter on the spot. It worked every time.

Financial planner—Created his very own referral and lead network by sending a letter to ten other professionals whom he had worked with and felt comfortable referring business to. This letter informed them that he was creating a unique referral network of one hundred of the area’s top professional services providers and was inviting them to become a member, but that he needed them to recommend ten others who should belong to this exclusive group. He then created a resource directory and Web site that featured all one hundred professionals. The entire group promoted the directory and Web site and referred business to each other. As a result, other professionals begged to be allowed into the group. The strategy was so powerful that many of network members did no other form of marketing.

Software training company—Partnered with complementary businesses to provide training classes. A local print shop received all kinds of very poorly designed business cards, brochures, letterhead, etc. It partnered with a computer training company to offer its customers graphic design classes. Eventually they expanded it to marketing, Web design, and specific software applications. The key is to look for businesses where you can offer a natural extension of their product or service.

Attorney—Sponsored online teleseminars and invited well-known authors and speakers by allowing them to pitch their books or other products. Targeted clients lined up to hear the prominent speaker and provided their names and e-mail addresses to get on the free call. The teleseminars became so popular that the attorney recorded each call and created an entire library of products that he used for other marketing efforts. By sponsoring the well-known authors, the attorney created a very high-profile referral network.

Remodeling contractor—After this upper-end remodeling contractor finished a project, he offered to throw an open house party for friends and neighbors. The homeowner invited everyone to “come see what all the fuss was about” and see the new home. The remodeling contractor made a very small presentation and then passed out cards. This worked particularly well when he added a cigar tasting, a wine tasting, and a golf demonstration to the event. Of course, he also took photos of the homeowners enjoying their new home addition and mailed it around the neighborhood.

What creative referral ideas have you witnessed or participated in yourself?

Image credit: AchimH

The Referral Engine Overview

My new book, The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, ships next week so I thought I would share some of the key points via a slide show. Hope you grab something tweetable and, well, consider buying the book too :) – links to buy – Barnes & Noble, Amazon, 800-CEO-READ or Indie Bound

Lots of info at – and thanks.

Referral Engine Preview and Book Giveaway

Video podcaster Steve Cunningham produced a very cool video preview of my new book, The Referral Engine, set for a May 13th launch. Steve is putting together a service called that summarizes popular books. As part of the review, Steve is giving away five copies for readers that comment on the post or connect via Facebook – so get over there and do it!

Are You an Active Business Blogger?

This offer is closed now! Sorry

I am making 50 advance copies of my new book The Referral Engine available to active business bloggers.

The Referral EngineIf you would like to receive one visit this page to find out more about the book.

Please know that we would like you to meet the following requirements:

1. You maintain an active blog, meaning that it’s updated at least once a week.
2. You agree to blog (and tweet, if on Twitter) an honest review of the book on May 10th, 2010 or during that week. (Blogging about the book before that is okay too, just agree to do it that week as well.)

FYI – I totally stole this idea from Tony Hsieh at Zappos who is offering the same for his book due in June – Delivering Happiness.

I Am Giving Away 250 Copies of My New Book for My 50th

UPDATE: This offer is closed, we gave away all the books – thanks partiers

Want to help me celebrate my 50th birthday?

As you may know, I have a new book coming out in May. The title of my new book is The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business To Market Itself and it’s officially on pre-sale today.

Referral Engine BookI wrote this book because the power of advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word- of-mouth referrals are what drive business
today. People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague, or even stranger with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by a faceless company.

As a Duct Tape Marketing reader and follower I want to let you in on my special 50th birthday celebration. (I know that’s pretty lame, but I thought why not, you only turn 50 once.)

Here’s the deal.

The first 250 people that pre-order a copy of my new book will get a second copy, perhaps to refer to a friend, free. And, you’ll get that copy about two weeks before anyone else can buy it.

So, you give me a gift by purchasing a book and I give you a gift in return. Let’s call it a party!

All you have to do to join the party is:

a) Visit The Referral Engine web site at and choose your favorite online retailer and pre-order the book. (free book can only be shipped to US addresses and does not include Kindle orders.) You can buy your book directly from one of the following retailers – Barnes & Noble, Amazon, 800-CEO-READ or Indie Bound

b) Send a copy of your receipt to – [email protected]

c) Once you do you will receive a URL to fill in the shipping details for your free book (Should arrive around April 30th or so)

d) Feel free to spread the word to friends, colleagues, Facebook fans and Twitter followers

The early reviews for the book are very positive (I have a free chapter on the site if you would like to review before pre-ordering) and I think this topic is timeless and very important for marketers and birthday partiers alike!

“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 cover blurb is the ultimate referral, and I’m here to blurb this book because it will help you succeed in business.”

Guy Kawasaki

co-founder Alltop

Thanks for all of your past and future support