Say you get a call from a customer wanting something you aren’t able to provide. You could politely turn them away, and no one would accuse you of giving bad customer service. But, going the extra mile can pay off big, especially if you’re willing to take a risk.
While writing my book, Confessions of Shameless Internet Promoters, I contacted dozens of Internet marketing experts from around the world. During just one hour via e-mail I had written to and received e-mails from all over the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK and Australia. That is five countries around the globe in just ONE HOUR. The power and the access to the world is now available to all of us at lightening speed.
Here’s an example of how the amazing power of the Internet can find endless opportunities: A year ago I had a client in Australia that was in search of another speaker like myself that is an expert in marketing and retail but that lived in Australia. Since I live in Phoenix, Arizona US, I did not know a soul in Australia, much less a great speaker in the same niche market and the same topic of expertise my client was looking for. But, following my motto to “Never Throw Business Away”, I set out to find my Australian client a dynamic expert that lived in her country.
First I did a search on Yahoo – Australia. Since my site comes up very high on the search engines and directories when typing in the keywords retail speaker, I was surprised that another speaker appeared first on the list. John Stanley – who is this John Stanley I thought. I clicked onto his site and viewed it in great detail. I had discovered that I had some tough competition on the other side of the world. Not only was John an expert in retail, he was the perfect fit for my client. So I sent him an email with the client’s contact information. Now you may be thinking, why would you send your client to your competition?
Here are 5 BIG reasons why:
My client would have found this speaker on her own doing a search on the Internet or by contacting a Speakers Bureau anyway. So, why not be the hero and help out the client at the same time.
Servicing my clients is first and foremost on my list of priorities. I take ordinary service and turn it into extraordinary results. This is easy to do, just stop selling and start servicing and you reap amazing results.
My clients are pleasantly surprised that I would not only refer them to a competitor, but that I would take the time to personally introduce them. My referrals are often sent in the form of an email (first choice because it is quick, easy and effective), personalized letters or one on one in person.
Business will comes back to you many times over when using this method effectively. I have personally experienced this for years in the many different businesses I have owned. Most people are afraid of their competition and therefore avoid them. This builds up a wall around you and a competitor who happens to have the same core customer base as you do. Don’t’ fight ‘em – join ‘em! Build alliances and send them business. It is a win-win for everyone involved! You service your customer, help out your competition and they in turn will most likely turn around and help you back. Note: If after sending numerous referrals to my competition with no reciprocating action, I simply stop sending the referrals and find another expert competitor that is willing to trade referrals fairly.
People like to do business with people that they like, and they like people that treat them fair, honesty and who truly care about making personal connections and offering supportive service. That’s just good business!
And now for the rest of the story…
When I sent my newfound competitor, John Stanley my clients contact information, I never knew if I would her back from him or not. And I did not know that he would want to reach out instantly and help me back. At the time I was just helping a client in need. But, John returned with an email to me within 24 hours. John thanked me for the referral and mentioned that he would be in Arizona, just 20 minutes from my home in two weeks. He said he would give me a call when he arrived. Now what are the chances of this happening with someone I just met via the Internet from the other side of the world? A couple of weeks went by and the phone call came. John was in town and wanted me to stop by where he was presenting to meet and chat up a bit.
We chatted up a bit all right – two hours later of not stop chatting we had discovered more and more ways to refer one another. During our conversation, John told me he had to confess to something that he could not tell me via email or by phone. “Just two days before I got your email, I did a search on Yahoo and found Debbie Allen. I thought, who is this Debbie Allen and why am I not coming up first on the search engines under
retail speaker? So I went onto your site and discovered your expertise. I thought, this lady is some tough competition on the other side of the world. They I printed out a couple pages from your Web site. Those pages were sitting on my desk when I got your email!”
Wow! Makes the hair on your arms stand up, doesn’t it? What are the chances? The chances my friends, for this type of opportunity to happen to you, are endless now with the World Wide Web. Oh yes, and if that is not enough to convince you to do more marketing via email and passing on referrals to your competitors, let me share with you what happened with those referral leads.
John and I have shared many contacts and created business opportunities in many countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, UK and Africa. We have even presented together on the same platform in England and were dubbed the “The Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire Of The Speaking Business.” In addition, John has become one of my most successful distributors and resellers of my books in his part of the world.
DON’T EVER THROW BUSINESS AWAY AGAIN! Seek out, connect and refer your clients to another expert if you can’t take the business for some reason. Become the resource for referrals and connections – the Internet Rolodex. When passing business along make sure that you keep yourself in the referral loop. Send an email introduction to your client with a copy to the person you are referring so that they can see the contact was made. Pass on all the contact information for the referral. Then wait for it to come back around to you with TONS of personalized referrals and increased business.
Debbie Allen is an international professional speaker, business consultant and author of Confessions of Shameless series of books. As a marketing and retail business expert, Debbie has presented to thousands from around the world. For more information or to sign up for Debbie’s free newsletter, visit her web site at at.