Incentive: \in-ˈsen-tiv\ noun — something that incites, or tends to incite to action or greater effort, as a reward offered for greater productivity

So you’ve successfully established your referral marketing network. You’ve assembled your crack team of business professionals who dig what you’re trying to do and are willing to play ball. But you find yourself slowly burning the oil and getting a little disappointed with the initial trickle of business referrals coming in. What’s the deal?

You’re doing one of two things wrong:

  1. You’re not reciprocating. You’re getting and enjoying leads, but are so caught up in the Vegas flair of it all that you’re forgetting one of the fundamental rules of referral marketing: you have to actively give back. What goes around comes around. It’s the only way the system works. If you’re not giving back you have to figure out why.
  2. You’re just talking to your fellow network members. You might as well be using a Ben Stein-like monotone voice as you drone on and on about how you’re amazing and astonishing — once a month, twice a month… whatever. It’s boring and unimaginative. In addition to clearly thinking you’re the best at what you do — and your partners should know that by now — is simply reminding everyone in your network why they should refer leads to you the most proactive and energized way of getting results? No. You need to be selling, even to those who are selling for you.

This is where the incentive goes a long way. Introduce a special deal — like a 15% discount — for any and all referrals coming to you from within your network. Those referring you will mention your name more enthusiastically when a preferred rate is associated with it; especially when it’s a preferred rate that is only available through them. Everyone in your network will love being in the position to save their clients some money by doing business with you.

You’ll soon find that incentives have a tendency to increase the volume and quality of leads coming in. Do you have any tips for sweetening the deal and encouraging folks to recommend you and refer business your way? Let’s hear ’em!

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