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Referrals — Truth or Lie? “Your best source of referrals is your customers.”

Are Customers Your Best Source of Referrals

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Let’s just say it’s possible that your happy customers are your best source of referrals but not likely unless they are trained and have the opportunity to be a good referral source.

Why not Happy Customers?

For some people, it’s not in their nature to tell other people who they love doing business with. Some of your happy customers don’t socialize enough to be your “best source” of referrals. Others are just very private people and depending on your product or service don’t want everyone to know they use your product or service.

Your “Best Source” of referrals is a network of trained and committed referral partners. Even better if your referral partners have also experienced your product or service as a customer. Committed and trained referral partners have several advantages. As the top marketing referral agency in Salem, we’ve helped lots of local businesses become successful.


My definition of a committed referral partner is the business person or team of businesspeople who invest money to belong to a networking group that is committed to sharing referrals. BNI is one example. This group of dedicated professionals invest their money to belong to the group with annual dues. People who pay, pay attention. Each member of the group agrees to be accountable through systematic reporting to at least one referral a week.


Referral partners also invest their time by attending weekly meetings to train and be trained on what a good referral looks like for each of the members. Weekly meetings are short and to the point. During this meeting, each member gets to share one succinct point about their business in 55 seconds. It sounds like the following;

A good referral for me this week is John Smith who just started his business. He has a website but not sure if he’s showing up in search results so that his ideal customer can find him. If you know John and have heard him complaining about how little new business comes in from his website, connect him with me — Melody Campbell, The Small Business Guru. Your Guide to Get More Business.

Every week each member can share a short example of who a good referral. Smart partners take notes so they can make future use of this weekly information in the normal course of business.

There is also a time for sharing “kudos” where members thank one other member for a great customer service experience for themselves or one of their referrals. This builds both knowledge and trust.

Shared Contact Spheres

Often your referral partner will have the same contact sphere as you so it’s natural to refer you. One example might be with a house cleaning service and a carpet cleaner. If both businesses are committed referral partners it’s very natural for the carpet cleaner to refer the house cleaning service and visa versa. They both have the same prospects and customers with the same needs. This is the beauty and benefit of networking groups such as BNI (Business Networking International)

Power Team

Your Power Team is a group of non-competing businesses who share the same contact spheres or target audience. For example, each of these categories listed below identifies shared contact spheres where power teams can be developed.

  • Home & Property
  • Financial Services
  • Wedding Services
  • Health & Wellness
  • Business Services
  • Trades

You and your team have made a commitment to one another that in the normal course of business each of you will be looking for opportunities to refer to each other. You may launch a shared marketing campaign to help promote each other to your combined audience.

Happy customers will probably refer you but potentially have less opportunity to give a volume of referrals.

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Top 10 Tips to Growing a Million Dollar Referral Network

Referrals: Truth or Lie? is a topic inspired by the book Truth or Delusion: Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths, written by Ivan Misner, PH.D., Mike Macedonio, and Mike Garrison. I’ve taken the prompt statements and provided my own commentary based on my personal experience as a Master Networker and Trained Referral Partner.

This article was also published on 

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