Grace Lanni, Managing Director, RSE Consulting. Lunch topic today is client prep work while nibbling on a home-made holiday eggroll from my nail salon and a gourmet hot cocoa with marshmallows from my real estate agent looking for January referrals. An unlikely (yet yummy) combination and it reminds me that my clients are super creative and willing to go the extra mile to acknowledge the business received by their best clients.
Is your business referral worthy? Are you as an executive referral worthy? Does your team (and I mean not only sales reps, but IT guy, receptionist, and shipping clerks alike) bring referrals to the business?
Design Innovation is not just about your product road map – it is about connecting your entire organization with your customers in a circular way. 20% of your clients are the ones bringing you the most business? I would assert you could design creative ways to expand this percentage, reduce your cost of customer acquisition and create deeper and more meaningful relationships with your clients and your partners.
January is the month of Design Innovation workshops. Not merely a marketing, tech or executive’s game, plugin your entire organization and their communities to discover innovative ideas that can support growth in the business. Maybe there is a strong non-profit service element within your employees. Are you recognizing them for that? What if you gave away a slice of your business to your employees non-profit in such a way that you were able to connect with the non-profit, understand how they use your product/service, and then do a joint marketing campaign or event to bring awareness to both organizations?
Design-Driven Innovation has become a buzz phrase recently. Usually led by only one of the two (marketing or technology), it is the delicious combination of both critical thinking groups in conversation with your current and future customers that will spark the next process, product or service change that will allow your business to forge ahead of your competition.
Bringing in people OUTSIDE your company is also a must. Status Quo will simply move the needle ever so slightly. If you want to really be the leader in your market, you must embrace the entire market.
Which brings me back to the question on the table, ‘Are you customer and partner referral worthy?’ Of course, you could ask. Some other ways to answer the question: 1) online reviews 2) track the source of your business 3) survey your employees and ask them to describe what your business does and give a prize for referrals over a 30-day period 4) give a referral to each of your partners, and track whether or not they return the favor.