Previously Mike Garrison, referral selling expert and President of Garrison Sales Consulting and Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity discussed the CEO, sales and marketing’s part in building a referral culture. Now Mike and Trisha will dive into how every employee can be a part of driving a referral culture and how that can not only helps create a predictable referral selling system that grows revenue, but goes toward increasing employee satisfaction.

How to involve every employee in building a referral culture

Trisha: Hi, I’m Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity. I’ve been interviewing Mike Garrison, business coach with referral sales expertise on the concepts of referral culture. So Mike, thanks for joining me again. We’ve talked about why a CEO needs to have building a referral culture on their radar to drive revenue growth. We’ve talked about what that means for sales and to marketing. And I think a lot of people would have stopped the conversation right there.

Mike: Not us.

Trisha: Not us. We’re going to dive into all the rest of the employees. So tell me Mike, who else needs to be involved in driving the referral culture at an organization?

Mike: Everybody.

Trisha: That’s scary.

Mike: I agree. But you guys have seen the presentation right?

Trisha: No

Mike: So it’s everyone. And there’s a reason why. What scares CEOs, marketing and sales about getting all the employees involved is when there isn’t an explicit referral culture – when people don’t understand the principals and values. Amplifinity employees understands the culture, it’s all about your customers and referrals. But when you get down to it I would say that this is the CEO’s challenge, because your leadership is going to make it or break it. And employees, you’re either fulfilling one of two roles. You’re either client facing or a behind the scenes support. Both sets of those employees have a tremendous impact without having to be a sales person.

Trisha: Alright. Now let’s dive into that because I’m sure there are developers out there that are absolutely frightened by that statement. But first let’s talk about client facing employees. So what can they do to both build and live a referral culture?

Mike: Are ready? This is going to sound crazy. And I might get struck down with a lightning bolt flung by all the other referral experts. If you’re client facing but not in sales, don’t ask for referrals. Looks like the internet didn’t shut down from me saying that.  Here the reason why.  First off, it’s kind of risky. And I would think that if you’re in customer support and all of a sudden you were required to ask for a certain number of referrals that it would perhaps be not exactly why you entered into that business. But the reason why it is risky is that whenever you ask for a referral whether you’re in the mail room or you’re a hardened outside salesperson, you’re creating an expectation and obligation. This introduces risk. So I would say that if you’re not in sales don’t take risks. Instead have fun and show appreciation. So every single person, whether they talk to a customer or anyone on the phone should be saying, ‘I love referrals.’

Trisha: And that’s easy.

Mike: It’s easy and it’s not risky. You’re not saying, ‘I took care of this software bug for you now give me a referral.’ Well what would you do if they say yes? You would have to talk to somebody else anyways. While marketing can be training employees on the core messaging, they can just say something like, ‘Anything else I can do for you? No? Just remember, we love referrals. If we can ever help you let us know.’

That is easy, automatic and it makes a difference.  And here’s why. One, customers don’t feel put on the spot to give, they just feel taken care of. And number two, the ones that will refer you will really like it.

Trisha: Absolutely. And I imagine those folks could certainly communicate with sales and let them know that they did something amazing and it went really well. And then that salesperson can think about if it is time to have a conversation with that customer about what they can do together to help grow business.

Mike: That’s brilliant! And if you’re in client success and you’re able to turn a difficult situation around, don’t waste that experience. Get with your sales and marketing department. That way you have double insurance to make sure that lead doesn’t drop. That lead needs to go in your CRM and put in your sales leader’s matrix for how you develop relationships. But if you don’t have that culture of showing appreciation and capturing it, that great experience is just wasted.

Trisha: Absolutely. And you know, as a salesperson if I knew that every single customer facing employee was talking about how much we love referrals that would be amazing. Really it is just setting that mindset and developing that relationship so it makes it so much easier for sales.

Mike:  Every employee can put it on their signature. As a regular employee, go to your marketing department if you’re not encouraged to say you love referrals and ask if it is okay to say it. It would be kind of bold but if you’re thinking about moving up, the mindset of how to take ownership of revenue is important. It is not about touches anymore. Your company, your job thrives on sales results. Believe it or not even a new employee can take ownership of sales and revenue and play your part.

Trisha: Absolutely. And if I were a CEO that is exactly what I would key into because I’m sitting there telling every employee that they need to be a part of driving revenue and these employees don’t understand how.  And it is so simple for them to do it.

Now, that is customer facing employees. Let’s talk about that developer we freaked out with the first statement that about them having a role in referrals. What can they do Mike?

Mike: That’s right. So, if you don’t actually want to talk to people you can still help. Cause I get it. I used to play World of Warcraft. I have a little introvert in me too. But think about social media. Everyone who has a smart phone has the ability to help market. So if you want to take ownership in revenue but you didn’t want to be in sales the good news is you don’t have to. There are way if you are willing, even once a week you can make little posts about your job and how you like it. Those things are invaluable. Because guess which people are trusted more? It isn’t marketing and sales.

When a receptionist talks about how they love the culture and love referrals people believe you more.

Trisha: Absolutely. It is more authentic. Now from a social media standpoint every single employee in the company has a network that sales can tap into and there can be some support there as sales starts to build their referral culture. But it sounds like what you’re also talking about is just laying the groundwork out there within their network about the value your company is bringing to your clients and beginning to share that information so that it makes referrals easier.

Mike: Yeah! So I’m going to take the responsibility off all those in sales and marketing, and then I’m going to give you an opportunity. So if your company doesn’t value the employee this is not going to work. Like if you don’t feel that the culture where you work supports referral and is really valuing people this isn’t going to work. Time to get a new job. But if you’re at a place you love working at, that you enjoy working at, that you feel like it is doing something important even if it is tough, then you can do a couple things. Number one, on your Facebook profile put where you work and if you can link it to your company Facebook page and then like the company page. One of the craziest things is when I start working with a company and then start noticing how many of the salespeople haven’t liked the company page. So if I were a CEO I would be looking into how many of my employees like the company page and actually have done a post with it. That would be a little leadership test. This isn’t something you can mandate. The other thing is if you’re really motivated and want to help I want you to go to the people who can make it easy and less risky for you. I want you to walk over to those marketing people and ask if there is a way they can help you authentically promote the company. And then if you’re at a true referral culture oriented company the sales department will have already talked to you and told you they love referrals. And maybe they might have even asked you if you can introduce them to someone that you know. Not everyone is in sales, but everybody is in referrals.

Trisha: Absolutely. And that is fantastic advice but that wraps back around to the CEO truly driving referral culture. And every single employee needs to see the results. They need to see how much business we are driving via referrals. How many referrals are coming in the door and how many are turning into actual revenue. That’s again all part of creating ownership of the revenue objective. And if referrals are a great way to achieve that revenue growth, which we all believe, to take on that revenue strategy, it’s taking it on holistically. It is not just saying we embrace our referral strategy. It is we walk and we own and we live a referral culture. That what drives us together to go after this revenue objective.

Mike: Yeah. When you really get down to it, a referral culture values other human beings. And that’s why all the employees have to be involved. Because if you want to step to the referral culture, every employee becomes extremely valuable. Not having to necessarily do as much activity as other employees but everyone has value.

Trisha: And who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?

Mike: Exactly? I mean, HR do you want to improve retention? Then get on board with referral culture.

Trisha: Absolutely! Awesome! Well, let me attempt to wrap up here. So we talked about who needs to be involved in referral culture. It’s not just marketing or sales, it’s all employees. We kind of broke it into two buckets, customer facing employees and non-customer facing employees.  For customer facing it is as simple as walking the walk and talking the talk and saying you love referrals. Just making that a part of your everyday conversations. And with non-customer facing employees, it’s the idea that you still have a lot of power to authentically drive the value through your networks in social media and support that culture. And then of course to be talking about it and measuring and sharing those results with the entire company.

Did I sum that up well?

Mike: Yep! Killer!

Trisha: Awesome! Any last words about referral culture?

Mike: You’ve got to give a crap.

Trisha: Absolutely. And if you do there is the way to grow revenue!

Mike: Yes. And don’t forget that you have to have an automated component (referral software). I am not just shilling for Amplifinity. You can’t do this without leveraging technology. Look for great partners like Trisha to help you do this.

Trisha: And it is not just about technology Mike, it is about coaching the organization to build a referral culture and that is where Mike can help you out.

Mike: Awesome!

Trisha: Thanks so much for joining me for this discussion!

Mike: Alright. Take care Trisha!

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