We spent the summer with beta testers – refining our baby – better known as the Hello Referrals application. We’re happy to report that the new version of the app is now live. Hello Referrals v.1.0.
Again, we’re offering the application for free for a 60 day free trial. It’s a no obligation way to get in on the ground floor and use the tool – ideal for those in a pre-existing network of business professionals or those that want to build a network from scratch and have an effective way to build, manage, and close business leads and referrals with others. The above screen shot is an example of the new weekly update emails that go out to the users within a network using the application. This was a key feature that we wanted to introduce as we think this is important in any web based environment – especially one where there is activity among a group of people trading and managing business leads. Linked In and Facebook employ the weekly summary as a means to encourage a visit back to the environment and to know what’s going on inside of it. The weekly summary emails are reminders to update business leads and opportunities you may have received or to follow up on those that you’ve sent. It’s also meant as a reminder that you might have a meeting booked with one of the other members of your group, or that there’s an important event or date approaching. Most importantly, it acts as a reminder to connect again with the environment – the most critical element of encouraging a user to engage with a web based application or tool. We’re confident that this new features will further enhance and increase leads and referrals turning into closed business – as users are reminded to stay on top of them more effectively and regularly.
Other new features in Hello Referrals v.1.0 include:
- Weekly summary emails with a snapshot overview of referrals
received, sent and upcoming events
- Ability for administrators to delete partners within the
- Revamped system for adding partners that uses secure invitations
(i.e. no more publicly-accessible “registration” link)
- Improved design on email notifications
- Billing and payment infrastructure, along with the ability to
upgrade/downgrade your account
- Ability to cancel your account
- Better form validation (so any errors are pointed out before the
form is submitted)
- Email notifications are enabled by default for new users
- Improved help content
- Improved security
I had a recent conversation with a new customer who also happens to be a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while. He had heard that I was involved in a startup that was developing what he incorrectly referred to as a “referral generator”. I was glad to take the opportunity to correct him, and we sat down over a coffee to discuss it. He asked me what Hello Referrals did, and what the game plan was, so I explained it to him. Before we even sat down to have our lattes – I sent him the following link to a post on the Freshbooks blog about Generating More Referrals For Your Business – a point form excerpt of a teleseminar between Freshbooks founder Mike McDerment and Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch.
I’ve been associated with a BNI group for years ( a great investment in your business as far as I’m concerned, and a good way to meet other local professionals and business owners). I regularly refer friends and partners to my many people on a regular basis. It’s paid off for my business, and I like doing it. I also like getting referrals from people. It’s validating and empowering – and referrals from friends and partners are qualified and excellent leads. The closing ratio on a referral is higher than with a typical lead, they also don’t cost me anything, and in most cases net me new customers that I’ve been fortunate enough to retain for a long period of time because of the endorsement from someone I know or have done business with. I attributed a 20% growth in my business last fiscal year to 7 referrals that I received from a good friend and referral partner of mine – one of which ended up becoming a $65,000 client. For me – that’s huge.
I also explained to him that anyone who knows anything about referrals, business leads, or referral marketing, knows that strategically being on top of those opportunities is important. They’re just as important – if not arguably more important as a regular business lead – as they’ve typically come with someone else’s endorsement. As indicated as an important component to any referral marketing strategy in the summary of the teleseminar – tracking your referrals and expecting them are important parts of the process. Having a game plan with respect to receiving them – sending them – tracking them – and being able to measure the results is key. Most people are relying on excel spreadsheets, emails, and slips of paper in some cases to manage leads from others they’re getting. I summarized my explanation by saying that we wanted to create a tool that facilitated doing these things and that we also wanted to create communities or cater to groups that are referral marketing and sending leads and opportunities to each other. My friend works in IT, and I finished my explanation by asking him about a lead that I had sent his way back in the summer of last year – a customer of mine. He mentioned that he had attempted a phone call, but hadn’t heard back from them. I know for a fact that the referral ended up going somewhere else – not because of anything other than my friend not maintaining a presence on the radar enough (this was explained to me by the lead as an instance where they had received the call, but there wasn’t enough pursuit of the business). After that initial phone call – there was no follow up. As a result – the referral didn’t pan out. That’s the long and short of it. My friend was sold, and agreed to try it out. After this – one of the first things he mentioned was having the weekly reminder we just introduced as a new feature would have helped him to have remembered to make that second phone call.
Interested? Contact us for more information or to try a trial for free for 60 days.