Referral Programs: 3 Sabotaging Mindsets

Snoball Editorial Team

Written by: Snoball Editorial Team | Snoball Editorial Team

Last Updated: Jul 3, 2024




Todd: Hey, Hey, I'm Todd and welcome back to The Snoball Effect. This is our Marketing Playbook series and I've got a real treat for you. I have invited two of my colleagues to join this conversation to talk about referrals. Let me just quickly introduce you.

The first person joining us today is Tori Barrington from California. Welcome to the podcast, Tori.

Tori: Hey Todd.

Todd: Good to have you. And next we have, from the great state of Texas, we've got Kaitlyn Short joining us and welcome to the podcast, Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn: Thanks, Todd. Happy to be here. 

Todd: Awesome. Well, let's jump in. I want to pick both of your brains about referral programs. And just to set the stage if you're running a home services business or you're trying to run a small business or medium, just any size business really, chances are your referral program is just limping along. And there could be some reasons why that's happening. 

Now we're going to go into, in some future episodes, all these cool things and these techniques that you can do in these strategies to build your referral program. But the problem is, is if you build that on a weak foundation, then no matter what you do, you're really  going to struggle. And there's three elements that we want to highlight today that are myths, or these are sabotaging mindsets that are just going to nuke any referral program that you have. So that's what we're going to go over. So Tori and Kaitlyn, when you hear “referral program,” what do you think of?

Tori: Well, my first thought honestly is e-commerce related and discount codes. Whenever I buy something online, I feel like I always get an email for, if you refer us to a friend and they buy something, you'll get 50 percent off your next purchase or something. I have a lot of those emails in my inbox somewhere.

So that I think is where my mind first goes to.

Todd: Is to e-commerce. Oh, interesting. How about you, Kaitlyn? When you think of a referral program, what pops in your head?

Kaitlyn: You know, I think about those kind of awkward conversations when someone asks for a referral and I actually don't know anyone. And then I kind of feel like I'm letting them down and putting them in a hard spot. But, another thing about referral programs is sometimes it's not even you know, a company has a referral program, but maybe someone is just naturally creating these referrals. Like you have a referral program, but people love your product so much that they're almost creating their own referral program because they're just telling their friends and family members about it. Like I have some products that I love, specifically this cleaning product. And people probably think I'm part of this cleaning product’s referral program because every time they come to my house, they see me using it. So, it's a cleaning product.

Todd: So tell us about this. This is your stage. We've set a stage now for you to tell the world about this cleaning cult that you're a part of. So what's this cleaning product and why is it so special?

Kaitlyn: It's called Force of Nature And it's awesome because it's non-toxic. You could use it to spray baby toys. You can use it to spray your cupboards. It's just as effective as bleach, but not, it's not unsafe. And so it's just like an all purpose cleaner. You don't have to have 10 different cleaners because I feel like in the past I've always gone to the store and okay, what cleaner am I going to get?

There's you know. I don't know, like a hundred. It feels like there's so many different types that you can get, and it's just one. And so people come over and I show, you make it at home. Like you put it in a flask. a scientist. And I show people and they're like, are you like an influencer? Like they get kind of confused. I have had many people buy this and I probably should get a referral code from them because at this point, I probably have gotten like three of my friends to buy this product. 

Todd: Okay, Force of Nature. Reach out to Kaitlyn. She is just organically out there spreading your brand. So wait, this is a home science experiment. You basically got to put together, and it's a cleaning product and it's somehow won you over so much that you're telling everyone about it. Now what makes it so special?

Just because it's all in one type of a thing, or so you're like using this on toys and using this on toilets and…

Kaitlyn: I’m using it, like when I travel, I put it in a little bottle.

Todd: You bring it with you, that's so awesome. That's awesome.

Kaitlyn: I think my family makes fun of me a little bit. Cause they're like, you're going to be known as the mom that just sprays everything and I'm like, that's fine because I know I'm spraying something that's not going to hurt anyone and only going to help cause it's going to disinfect. So I'm kind of weird about it. But anyways, I love the product I've been using it for years. And it's just easy. You put like a capsule in a flask and it like ionizes and turns into this mixture that is just as effective as bleach. It's kind of crazy, but anyways, it's just cool. 

Todd: I can tell, the fact that you laid out those bullet points so cleanly. I can tell this isn't your first time pitching this.

So you are, you're exactly what I think of when I think of referral programs. And that's just people just bubbling up with enthusiasm over a cleaning product. I wasn't expecting a cleaning product. That's great. Or I couldn't imagine someone getting so emotionally attached to a cleaning product, but if it can do everything and your baby son can, you know, chew on a toy and he's safe and then you can use it all over the house. I get it. I get it.

Kaitlyn: It's great. And honestly, I think if the company had sent me a referral code, and I thought it was good. Because I feel like I have seen referral codes, but they have discounts on their site that are better than the referral code, which is kind of strange. But I think I would have used that. Like I probably would have been like, guys, I actually have the best discount for you with my referral code.

So maybe a missed opportunity for them or just me.

Todd: I love it. Okay. What comes to mind when you think of some of the misconceptions business owners or anyone that wants to roll out a referral program? What's a misconception they might have?

Tori: Well, I think going back to Kaitlyn's first comment, I think initially everyone thinks it has to be this really awkward conversation of somebody calling somebody else on the phone and saying, Hi, thanks for buying our cleaning product. Do you have a referral for us? When in reality, that's not the case at all.

It's actually just people like Kaitlyn being really excited about the product. And if they know about the referral program, which we'll get into, clearly is the issue here with Kaitlyn's product. But, that being said. Yeah, it doesn't have to be awkward. It can just be natural conversations between friends.

And so if you set it up right, there's no need for there to be that awkward pushiness. It can just be natural conversations.

Todd: I love it. Anything come to mind, Kaitlyn? As far as misconceptions?

Kaitlyn: Yeah, I think at least for companies, sometimes they think, you know, they want, I think companies want referrals in general. They're like, yeah, that seems like a great source of new leads. But I also think the misconception is, you know, they just put something on their website. If they just have a referral page or they just have one pop-up on the website, like that's enough. And, and I don't think so. I think you're missing out on a huge market. If that is all you're doing, if you're just building something and hoping people come to this page and you're not leading them to it, you're not sending reminders. You're not sending anything to jog their memory, because you probably have happy customers, but if you're not reminding them how happy they are, they might not be telling their friends.

Myth #1: Customer Satisfaction is Enough

Todd: I'm going to build off of that because that leads right into myth number one or this misconception that people have number one, the thing that is sabotaging people's referral program. And it's this complacency where they believe that customer satisfaction is enough. If my people are happy, all right, I'm now going to, my referral program will consist of throwing something out there, crossing my fingers and hoping.

Now hope is great, but hope's not a good strategy. So let's talk a little bit about customer satisfaction being enough. That misconception. 

Tori: I'm even just thinking about reviews before we go as far as referrals, because reviews are a little bit easier. But I'm pretty generally satisfied with most of the products I use or the places I go out to eat or whatever. I don't have bad experiences most of the time, but I can't even remember the last time that I left a review on online.

I'm not gonna lie to you, but it's because for the most part, I'm just satisfied. I'm happy, but I'm, it's not like I've had the most exciting experiences that I feel like I have to go share. I have to go write about online. It's just average, you know, and so. Yeah, I'm a happy customer of all these different places, but I'm not doing any anything about it because it's like the bare minimum of a thumbs up, you know.

Todd: So you're content but you're not taking any action.

Kaitlyn: And I think of it on like this meter almost. Like you probably have your detractors, which are people who are very upset. And then you have your advocates and like me with this clean product. I am a huge advocate. I can just talk about it. No one really has to remind me. I see it every day. I'm using it. And so I see it. I'm just going to talk about it. 

But then you have, I think this in between of, you have some happy customers, but they're kind of just going to sit there unless you do something about it. They're not, you know, over the moon thinking about it every day. And maybe it's just because this purchase is a one time purchase. They don't think about it as much, but if you just do nothing about it, I don't think those people are going to act. They need to like they need some kind of reminder. Because, you know, maybe they're happy and they would share this product or service with a family or friend, but they just, it's not front of mind for them.

Todd: Well, Ken Blanchard talks about this a little bit in his book. It's one of my favorite books because basically everything you need to know you get from the cover and it's like how to create raving fans. And that's really the concept of the book is basically, if you want a thriving business, satisfaction is not going to do it. It's not going to create the energy within a person to actually take action. Instead, you've got to delight people so that you create these raving fans. 

And we see it on the negative side, right? When somebody has a bad experience, oh, they'll tell the world. But when someone has just an average experience, they won't say anything.

So you need to counter that with these moments of delight where you surprise somebody with something extra and then they won't shut up about it. Anything that comes to mind as you think of these raving fans and these moments of delight?

Tori: The first thing I'm thinking of because you said they have to have this energy to talk about your company. And at Snoball, we collect video testimonials for companies. So we get to see that range of emotions that people have towards a company. But a couple of weeks ago, there was a lady and she left a video testimonial for a company called Best Egg.

They're a debt relief company. And so not something that a lot of people like to talk about, but I have never seen somebody with so much enthusiasm and energy to leave a video testimonial as this woman did. She was just thrilled over the moon and you could see it in the way she was talking. But she legit would just shout out Best Egg, like during the video testimonial, cause she was so happy with her experience.

And there's not a lot to talk about. I mean customer service was good. They relieved her of her debt, you know, like there's not a lot to talk about but she full on said that she was gonna write a jingle for them. Like that's how much she liked Best Egg was, I'm gonna write a song for you. I mean she was so happy. It was the funniest thing, but that to me is a raving fan, like someone who is so happy not just with the result, but with the experience.

I don't know what Best Egg did, but they treated her so well that she full on is gonna write a song for them. That, that is a raving fan if I've ever seen one.

Todd: I love that. Just that visceral organic reaction to where she just wants to shout out their name. Like those people that are that enthused. I honestly think, I think of my wife, Annie, cause this happens twice a week. Where I get home and just as excited, Kaitlyn, as you are about that cleaning product, this is how much she loves Amazon. And it's not like she's the only one that's discovered Amazon. And she says I got to tell you about this new company. Everyone knows what Amazon does, but I'm not kidding. They just continually delight her because anytime there's any problem, they're just like, oh, keep the product.

We'll send you another one. Or it's just like over anything. They're just like bumbling over themselves to make it right with her. And I'm not kidding. I get a commercial twice a week of her just saying, sit down and look me in the eye, because I'm going to tell you how great Amazon is. And it's just because of these moments of delight to where now she gets a new package and it's every day is Christmas and she just can't wait, but she loves that company, because of how they treat her and how they handle returns and how they've turned it into, they've turned like customer delight into a process. And so anyway, so that's exactly, she feels exactly like that lady that you talked about. 

I’m gonna share another example. Cause I can talk all day about raving fans. So super quick. We go out to pizza almost every week, right before we go see a movie. And we love Via 313. Well, the reason we love them so much isn't just cause they have awesome pizza, but the very first time we went there, Annie orders her pizza and you know, it's got all these special things on it and they bring it out, tt's all the wrong stuff. And she just very politely just says, hey, yeah, this isn't quite what I wanted. And it was something totally different. It was just like the opposite of what she wanted. The waiter there was so nice. They said, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. So they run back to the kitchen. They bring out her order. Then they bring out this to go box. They bundle up her other, the one that they made a mistake on. And they said, would you want to take this home to your family? And they like started just offering food and shakes and stuff like that. So Annie goes from being disappointed to by the time we left, she was literally on Google leaving a review.

And now we go there almost every single week. So looking for those opportunities when you've actually disappointed someone to say, you know what? I screwed up. Let me make it right and come in and just spoil them for a minute. And now they have a raving fan, super small example, but I think that's something that companies could duplicate just over and over again. 

Tori: I think it's interesting when you're talking about the pizza example, or talking about debt relief companies or whatever, there are a lot of good products out there. And obviously, before you even have a happy customer, you have to have a good product. But there's a lot of really good products out there, and so I think what separates companies apart isn't necessarily just the product, but it really is that customer experience.

It's how you're treating people, because you could go to pizza somewhere else and it'd still be really delicious pizza, but maybe they're just not as nice, they don't treat you as well, or if they mess up your order, they don't let you keep it and bring you another one, you know? There's just really little things, but, I think like you said, Todd it's replicable. You can do this, whatever company you own, whatever product you sell, you can replicate any of these experiences just based on how you treat people.

Even if it's something that you don't feel like you have a lot of interaction with the customer, it's not a restaurant, it's not a retail store. If they call you, be the nicest person on the phone that anyone's going to hear all day. Because if they're calling you and someone else to get a quote and you were nicer to them on the phone and the product's basically the same, they're going to go with you.

So I really think it comes down to just how well you treat your customers, which sounds simple, but it's a big deal.

Todd: That's right. Just doing your job isn't gonna, isn't gonna do enough. And you know, if you're doing plumbing repair, then clean up the bathroom after you're done take pictures of it and send it off and say, hey, this is how it went, and send it over to them. If you're doing a bathroom remodel and you get halfway done for the night, just take a picture of it and say, hey, here's the progress that I made. You finished fixing something in someone's house, do a little video and say, this is what I did. And here's how to maintain this. Little things like that that just go that extra mile, I think will turn these lukewarm people that we talked about earlier into these raving fans. Any final thoughts on myth number one?

Kaitlyn: I was just going to say 1 example I thought of, and this one's maybe a little different, but it's in the medical industry. I had a doctor who someone recommended me to this doctor and they had just, he had pretty much a 5 star review, like, hundreds of reviews on Google. And I'm like, okay, he's probably you know, like that's a good sign. He's got good reviews and he lived up to those reviews. He checked in after I had a call and had an issue with something he called later after business hours, personally to ask how I was doing, he checked in after a procedure just to stop by and ask how I was doing again.

Not even necessary. There was no distress or anything. And so I think it's like any industry you have medical, you know, home services, food industry. Like you can just elevate the service a little bit by really showing your customers, your patients, like you care about them, like going the extra mile.

It's a phone call. It's a five minute phone call. And you know now I'm going to refer people to this doctor because I know he cares, like I know that they're going to take good care of me and take care good care of my friends who I recommend to there.

Todd: I love it. So this is the first misconception that is just going to sabotage any of your efforts. You can have all the bells and whistles in the world, but if you don't get this, that you've got to delight your customers, everything else is going to be futile. So if that's not DNA as a business, stop right now, fix your mindset and then we can talk.

Myth #2: Our Reps Will Handle Referrals

But let's talk about, let's talk about myth number two. Here's myth number two: our reps will handle referrals. So something I hear as I talk to some of these companies are, look, my reps, they've got a one on one relationship with customers, right?

So they're going to handle all the referrals and that's the extent of our referral program. So when you hear that, Kaitlyn, what's your take on that?

Kaitlyn: I think it's easy for companies to, you know, go that direction and say, let's just put it in the hands of our sales reps. They're with our customers most, you know, they're really, obviously ingrained in the sales process. And after you get a sale, it's easy to say, hey, send us a referral now. And one of the things I think is the big issue with that is they're so busy. They're probably one of the most busy, like departments at your company, just because they have a long list of things they're trying to do. They're talking to your potential customers and they just have a million things to think about.

That is one more thing that's on their plate. And it's also not really a quick win for them. Like maybe they're going to get a referral, maybe not. And they might not ask it every time they're not going to prioritize it like it should be. And I think you'd ask any company and they would say, yeah, we want referrals, but if you're just leaving it in the hands of your sales reps, I don't know if that's what you're saying. If you actually want referrals that badly.

Todd: I agree with that a hundred percent. This is a crazy analogy, but it's, look at the backup of cars, look at the line outside of McDonald's. This is fast food, this is now versus is there ever a line, you know, in the produce department at the grocery store? One of these is healthy. It's great for our long term health. The other one is just something I need now. And salespeople are just like us in that they're going to take care of the issues that are in front of them, the fires that are in front of them, the things that are going to pay out right now. That's what they're going to focus on. So if you're putting like, hey, here's our referral program on their, you know, on their lap, they're just going to be too busy, too distracted to really give it the TLC that it needs.

Tori: And I think, too, sales reps tend to get a really bad rap for all of these reasons that, oh they're lazy, they're not taking care of the referrals, or they're disorganized. We've heard it all. But empathize with them for a second. I mean, think about it. They're the ones that are knocking doors and cold calling and doing all the things that nobody else wants to do.

And, but in their mind, like you said, Kaitlyn, they want to make a sale, or like you said, Todd, McDonald's, they want that immediate gratification. 

Todd: The analogy, once I play it out, it's a little bit more clunky than I expected. But in my head, that totally makes sense. For the record it totally makes sense.

Tori: But that's what they want. And they know, they're thinking, okay, I can text this happy customer for the next two months and then get a referral, or I can make this cold call right now and maybe close a deal in the next five minutes, you know, and that's what's going through their head.

And that's totally valid. That's fair. And so I think for those reasons it's not reasonable or fair to put it all in the sales rep's hands.

Kaitlyn: And I don't think companies. Well, I don't think they realize how much work getting to the end of a referral process is. Because it's not just, you know, send over referral payout.

Someone's got to follow up. Someone has to make sure that the person actually bought the product or service. Someone has to confirm that. And then if it's something like solar, for instance, at Snoball, we work with a lot of solar companies. And so this can be a really long process. This can be months long before a customer actually gets their solar panels installed. And you know, we've heard from companies, they get these referrals in, you know, they close and then people aren't paid out for their referrals because it's been months and someone's got to follow up and see, did this person actually, you know, has their install been completed? 

And so I think that's where you get a lot of drop off. And then ultimately that's going to dampen your customer satisfaction. If customers are like I am sending referrals, but I'm not getting paid for them. So that's really annoying. Like I'm going to stop sending referrals. So now you've got upset customers that probably were happy before. And so you can just really get into a mess if you don't have a nice organized system for managing these referrals. And I don't think sales reps are the answer, unfortunately. They just got too much on their plates.

Tori: I guess going off of that, I have a question for you guys, because you work a lot with our clients and doing case studies and kind of learning how they handled referrals before they come on to Snoball. So from your guys' perspectives, if it's not the sales rep, then who is it that's dealing with the referral program?

Todd: That's a great question, because what I've seen, and Kaitlyn, you may remember this case study is it either gets dumped onto the sales team or it gets dumped onto some stressed-out individual in the office. Who's doing some administrative work, who's wearing a thousand hats. Who was it, Kaitlyn, that we were talking to on a case study and they said, before Snoball, this was my referral program. And they held up a stack of sticky notes.

And she said these were covering my monitor before, and that was their referral program.

Kaitlyn: She had to manually go in. She was like taking out this folder. I don't know, once a month, a couple of times a month going through papers. And she said I think I have 500 papers and this isn't her only job. Like maybe if this was her only job, she could do it. You know, wouldn't be so stressed, but this was like one of 10 other things that she does.

And she' said it's always something I'm thinking about. I'm never finished with this. It's just an outstanding task that I'll never complete. And she got those sticky notes. You know, there are different ways to handle referrals, but I think manually even just putting it on someone in the company can be a lot.

Todd: And I think I think you're really just setting yourself up to fail. So it's kind of the dump it on somebody or dump it on a team of sales people and then cross your fingers and in your mind, say, check, we did that. And then crossing your fingers and hoping that the referral gods, you know, nurture all of these people. 

It just reminds me of something from Atomic Habits that I love. And I always butcher this quote, but it's something like, we don't like, especially in times of stress, and when we're busy. We don't reach the heights of our goals. We actually usually settle on the height of our processes. And read James Clear. He says it a lot more cleanly, but basically we're throwing this, you know, with the hope and the intent to do great things, but it's really our processes. Those are the things that are going to make our efforts predictable, organized, so we don't go crazy. And so we just get better results.

Tori: I think going off of that too, Todd, let's take a second for the administrative assistants and the sales reps. We see you. There is a better way.

Todd: Our heart goes out to you. Our heart goes out to you. Honestly, this woman we talked to in this case study said, I would think about it in the middle of the night. It's like your garden that you have to weed. And it's just I know I need to do it, but I'll get to it.

I'll get to it. So I love that. We see you.

Tori: We see you. But I think too, in ideally in a perfect world, going back to the last myth, your happy customers can be doing this for you. It doesn't have to be on a sales rep. It doesn't have to be on an administrative person. It doesn't have to be on anybody at your company. There are ways to systematize this whole process and get it in front of your customers in multiple different places so that people like Kaitlyn, and her cleaning product, that are so happy and are already talking about it. They see all the time the referral code, or they see all the time that you're accepting referrals, or I know exactly where to submit your, my friend's name for my friend to get a discount or whatever. 

So there are processes, like you said, Todd, that, if that's the level we're gonna fall to, and the stress is the level of our processes. Let's automate, let's get those things set up in your CRM, have a texting service. We'll talk about these in other episodes, but there are processes you can set so that it doesn't have to fall on this one poor, stressed-out person.

Todd: Well, and it's so true. And just to add a little salt to the wound of these poor administrators. For a referral program to be effective, this isn't just ask them once and then the referrals come flowing in. To really get the referrals that you need. These are conversations you have to nurture over time.

Landon, our CEO says all the time that it usually takes three, you know, communications and outreaches with folks before they'll actually send you a referral. And then 50 percent of referrals that come in from the companies we work with are from people that have already left referrals. So that's a lot of nurturing.

You're nurturing anyone that's been a customer. You're nurturing people that have given referrals. You're reaching out to them multiple times. That's a lot of work and that's too much to dump on somebody and then hope. So systematize, systematize. Any other thoughts about this second sabotaging mindset before we move on? Sweet, let's do it.

Myth #3: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

So number three, we're almost done. And this one is simply, gimme, gimme, gimme. This mindset will crush any referral program that you have. So you might think, oh, great, Todd. You said, I've got to reach out to him three times. Great. I can do that. I can do that in two or three weeks. And you just ping them and you just say, hey, you have another referral for me? You have another referral for me? You have another referral for me? So what's wrong with that mindset?

Tori: Well, first of all, that's called spam and people don't react very well to it. So that's the first problem. No, but in all seriousness, I think there's no such thing as a healthy or a good one-sided relationship in anything, and that includes in these business customer relationships too.

Kaitlyn: Yeah, I think. Customers can feel that customers can feel when you're just, you know, almost trying to get more than you're getting and they're not, you know, they're going to just look at it like spam, like Tori said. I mean, I hate getting so many texts from a company that I'm like, okay, look, this is like way too many now. I'm, I signed up for your text messages. Now I'm deleting them because it's gone a little too far. You haven't thrown in enough good discounts yet. We're done. But yeah, I think that companies have to have this balance and they have to think like we talked about I think in the first myth. Like you have to create these go above and beyond.

You need to create a good experience. And then you need to foster a genuine relationship with these customers. It's not just about getting them to send a referral. As much as we want referrals, like that can't be your only goal because that's a byproduct of going above and beyond of making your customers really happy, excited to just genuinely share your product and service with their family and friends.

Tori: That reminds me of we had Tricia Drake on the podcast 

Todd: Oh, I love Tricia. Shout out to Tricia. We love you.

Tori: You're cool. She doesn't even know who I am, but I think she's cool.

No, but she said something that really impressed me when she was on the podcast. She said that sometimes. Well, she does this personally, but also as a recommendation for others.

She suggests reaching out to people and customers randomly with no agenda, which I think is unheard of. Most people don't suggest that because you're supposed to have a reason, you know, reach out because you want referrals or reach out cause you're trying to get a review. But I think like Todd said, a lot of the referrals come after those three interactions, but it doesn't have to be a referral request every single time.

It could be the first time you request a referral. And then the second time you say, hey we installed solar a month ago, just checking in. How's it going, any problems, anything we can do to fix it? Whatever, so I think it's important to, to just be reaching out to customers, texting them, calling them, asking how they are, asking how the product's going, if, I don't know, if they have any questions. Just so that they know you're there to actually help them and to be a friend almost, not just somebody that's bothering them and spamming them all the time.

Kaitlyn: Yeah. Tori, you make a good point about, you know, reaching out to these customers really with no agenda. And actually I think some companies are a little afraid of that because we've seen at Snoball some of these new customers or some of our new customers come on, they send out a batch of referral requests and they actually get a lot of problems arising.

Like some of these messages that they need to figure out, like they need to correct, like maybe something happened with an install. I don't know, but there, it's actually bringing to surface some issues that customers are having. And I think companies are afraid of that, but I don't think it's something they need to be afraid of.

I think there's an opportunity here that you're missing out on. If you say, I don't want to resurface any past issues. Because we were just talking about this in a past case study, like how much does one customer mean to you? And I think it was Jacob Dimpsey. He's like, one customer could mean five new customers if we treat them correctly. And so if you just think about okay, one customer, one and done, you know, we don't really need to talk to them again. You're really narrowing down your market. You've already spent a lot of money getting that one customer. So why not turn it into five? And that, I think that gap there is where you're doing more, where you're communicating more, and maybe you're resolving some of these issues.

Just like we were talking about with some of these companies that made an, like the pizza company, Amazon, like companies will make mistakes. Like you're going to make mistakes. But there's an opportunity to fix that. And even if it costs you money, it actually might give you more revenue, more profit in the end. If you fix it and you get more referrals, you get more customers in the end.

Todd: I love that you said that Kaitlyn. It reminds me way back in the day when I worked for eBay, they were kind of the big dog back then before Amazon, eBay was a big deal. And I worked in the eBay motors department and I would go to different dealership groups and do some trainings and things like that on how they could improve their reputation and their reviews. And I showed, I'll never forget. I showed on a PowerPoint, I showed a negative review that one of these dealers had gotten.

And you'd be surprised like a car sells, you know, on eBay. It's every second or every few seconds apart sells and every minute, another car sells on eBay motors. And so anyway I'm showing these dealers this and they make a ton of money through their eBay presence. And these reviews were just critical for them. So I show this review up on the PowerPoint and I've got a room full of dealers and it is a review for this dealer and this customer is just blasting them, just ripping them apart. And we looked at that and then I showed this was the dealer's response to that terrible review. And you know what the response was?

It was, you're right. We screwed up. I can't believe we dropped the ball. Here's my number. Reach out to me. Let's make this right. And everyone in the room was just like, whoa. And so the question was, what does that now communicate to everybody looking at this? And I'll never forget a guy in the back raised his hand and he said, Todd, I want to go get a negative review just so I can respond that way. Because that looks so human. That looks so authentic. That looks like I'm a problem solver. 

And so I think people are really willing to be won over. They're really willing to do a 180 and say, if you can make this right. All that energy. That's like a, it's like a flamethrower that I'm sending out into the universe and more likely to online. And I'm telling everyone I know how terrible you are. All that energy is just, it could be pointed anywhere. Could be easily flipped with acknowledging and then making it right. And so that's been a big surprise for me that those most angry customers are an opportunity for some of your biggest future advocacy.

Tori: I actually saw that on a little bit of a smaller scale the other day. But I was searching on Amazon for some maternity clothes and I was reading all the reviews and there were, you know, 2000 reviews or something. So there were a lot. And it was, I don't remember, a shirt or something, a clothing item.

And most of the reviews were all really, really great. And then there was one review though, that really caught my attention. And it was some woman that had bought the piece of clothing. And I think there were two parts to the review. The top part, she had mentioned something about how when it had originally been delivered to her, there was a stain on it or something. I don't remember exactly what it was, but there was an issue with the original delivery. And, you know, she wrote her review, and it's not like she was being really mean, but, this is at the top of the Amazon reviews, and so this is one of the first ones I'm seeing, and so now I'm a little concerned.

But then the second part of her review was in all caps. And it was, I called the company, I've never had such great customer service, they let me return it, they replaced it, would highly recommend, will be buying more, or whatever. And so I think you're right even something as small as just a, doesn't have to be a car or anything, like a really huge purchase, just a, shirt, you know, a small piece of clothing, but when you can turn that negative review into a positive one. 

That's what did it for me. Cause it was like, okay, odds are there's a thousand five stars review on here. So the odds are that nothing's going to be wrong when I order this, but now I'm comforted because even if something does go wrong, this company apparently is great and they're going to treat me well if the order is messed up or something.

And so I think, yeah, I think they shouldn't be afraid. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for referrals just because you think you might get some negative comments. Because then, yeah, those are opportunities to, to turn those people into advocates.

Todd: And if you're nurturing these conversations and you're reaching out to customers, you're going to unearth some of these problems, right? They're just going to come up and so just look at that as an opportunity. I mean, people love a comeback story. They love a redemption story. And if someone says, sorry, my bad, let's make that right.

Like you're this close to just having just a raving fan.

Kaitlyn: We talked about in the previous myth, how okay, you can't have sales reps handle it so someone else has got to. Which now we're saying is if you start asking for referrals, you might unearth all these other issues. And now we're saying like, okay, now I'm going to have 20 other issues to deal with. So again, hearts go out to admins doing this themselves. This could actually cause, you know, more work for you. And so that's why I think going back to like automation, that's why it's so important to automate this process. and with the Snoball platform, you can actually indicate whether someone is an advocate or detractor. And I don't think you have to write off all the detractors. But it's easy to put it in that category and figure out how you can solve that issue while still nurturing these advocates. Because each customer is going to need something a little bit different. If you're just sending out the same message, you're sending a message to someone like, how was your weekend? And they're really upset with your company. I don't just don't think that's going to go over well.

Todd: They're going to say, don't worry about my weekend. Fix this problem.

Kaitlyn: I just don’t think that's going to go over well if they're not customer or they're not happy with your product or service. It's a lot like. Referrals is not as straightforward as some might think, especially in the home services industry, which we work with a lot of companies in the home service industry. These are big purchases you have to have a lot of trust to tell your to tell someone else about this product or service because this is not just like five dollars. 

Like I'm telling people about this cleaning product, but I'm also like, okay, if they hate it and they're out like 50 bucks, but if I'm referring a solar company and like they do a bad job, okay. Now my friends like out 30 grand, like that's the big deal. And so I think, you know, finding the right platform, finding a way to automate this process is really gonna take a stress off your company and you're also going to see great returns from it. 

Todd: I love it. I think there's so much just to build off of that. Here's something that I've been really surprised with while working at Snoball is we'll send out, you know, because we do referrals all day. And we'll send out these referral requests. And just like you said, Kaitlyn we'll find out pretty quickly from that request, whether or not they're an advocate or if they're a detractor, if they're not happy, they're not going to be in the mood to send it, send a referral. And so great, that's an opportunity to submit a support ticket, solve a problem and win someone over. That's a lot better than that festering, right? 

But what about these advocates, these people that say, because here's what we'll often hear. I think we've all been there, which is. Oh, I love your service. Y'all have been amazing, but no one comes to mind right now. So here I've just been given a, I've been asked to do something from a company I like. I can't give them what they want right now. And here's what we've learned is it's in that moment when we trickle back another request and say, great, no problem. In the meantime, will you jump in and leave an online review? And that is actually a very satisfying feeling for the person to say, oh, well, I can do that for you. And so in a very counterintuitive way, it feels oh, this is just me asking for more. It's actually giving someone that wants to help you a chance to do that. Or we will do these, you know, Tori, you help out with these. We'll do these video testimonials where now they have an opportunity to earn, you know, 25 bucks and do a video testimonial. So giving them another chance. To advocate for you if it's not the right time for a referral

Tori: And I think that goes back to just the original name of this myth. Gimme, gimme, gimme. But yeah, the whole point of this is that's not the right attitude. You should also be looking for ways to give things to your customers. And number one, a lot, what we talked about was we're going to solve customer problems when they come up and that's a give, that's something that you're giving to the customers, you're helping them.

So that's one. And then another thing, like you just said, Todd. Giving them other ways to help because when you like a company you want to help so kind of giving them those other opportunities. Not just being spammy, but okay, no problem. Maybe you want to leave a review or a video testimonial instead. Or giving them gift cards, too. Like we'll give you a 25 gift card if you leave a video testimonial. That's another way to give. 

And I think to a lot of companies have loyalty programs And they don't put those together with their referral program. But another way that you can give is in those conversations, when you're not asking for referrals, give them discount codes, just text them randomly. And hey, 20 percent off your next order. Thanks for being such an important customer to us. That's it, you know, and I think that's another way to just foster that relationship. And it's more of a give, a giving relationship and less of just taking what we want from the customers.

Todd: And yeah, it's the rules of relationships. They apply everywhere. Right. And so of course they apply to referrals that this is a two way street. This is a mutually a beneficial you know, conversation. Any other thoughts that come to mind about this final myth? 


Awesome. So let's just quick, rapid fire style, just review these three myths. So what's myth number one?

Tori: Oh shoot, I wasn't prepared for this.

Todd: That's okay. So myth number one is satisfaction is not enough. So get over that. Satisfaction sucks. You need to aim higher than that and really go to delight people. Myth number two. What is that?

Tori: Reps will handle referrals.

Todd: There, thank you. I feel like, that feels so condescending for me. Like I'm in front of a class and I'm like, okay kids what's myth number two? Sorry, that was totally.

Tori: No, that was great. That was great.

Todd: Reps don't just leave it to reps. Don't just leave this to the busiest person in the office. You've gotta systematize this, otherwise it's not gonna work. 

And then number three, it's not a gimme, gimme, gimme relationship. This is a two-way relationship. So try to delight people, put it into a system, and then add in that human part of it where this is a give and take and it's a real conversation. If you're, if you don't get your head right on those three things, everything else we can throw at you, we can throw all the tools, the best practices, the tips, the tricks, they're not going to land if you don't get those three things, right. 

Great. All right. So that's it. Now in the future, we're going to talk about all these strategies that you can build to really build out an effective referral program. But if you don't get your head right about these three things, then you're going to be wasting a whole lot of energy cause it's all going to crumble. So that's it. Those are the three myths that you need to get over. Thank you for joining The Snowball Effect podcast. And Kaitlyn and Tori, thank you so much for joining.

Kaitlyn: Thanks Todd.

Todd: All right. We'll see everybody. This has been the Marketing Playbook series and we'll see you next time.

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