From the Peak Your Profits!® newspaper column by:
Jeff Blackman, J.D., CSP, CPAE
Business-Growth Specialist
© Blackman & Associates, LLC

While over-the-phone or eyeball-to-eyeball communication are obviously great times to seek referrals, there’s an abundance of opportunities with other methods too.

I realize the following five success strategies could be influenced by the nuances of your particular business, yet thankfully, there are no rules, limitations or requirements. The possibilities are bountiful. The profits are limitless.


  1. How your current correspondence, printed materials or marketing channels can be leveraged and upgraded to promote referral opportunities.For example:
    • letters
    • direct-mail pieces
    • invoices
    • advertising
    • agreements
    • websites
    • faxes
    • new product announcements
    • postcards
    • e-mail signature blocks
    • signage
    • business-cards

    Here’s language I spotted on the back of two business cards:

    REFERRALS are an important part of my business. If you would recommend me to your friends, family, neighbors and business associates, I would truly appreciate it. Anyone you refer to me will always receive special attention and the finest service.

    Remember, don’t keep me a secret.
    The finest compliment I can ever receive, is a referral from my friends and customers. Thanks.
    You should always be on the prowl and hunt for new business. Yet folks have to know you are. Or, they’ll often mistakenly conclude, “Heck, you’re so busy and successful, had no idea you were looking for new biz.”

  2. What new correspondence or communication can be created to promote referral opportunities?For example:
    • promotional products or ad specialties:possibilities include customized imprinted items (i.e., pens, magnets, mugs, etc.)
    • special promotions or surveys:A friend who is a smoker, showed me a unique promotion from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

      It stated:

      Here is a FREE Salem pen and a coupon to show you how much we appreciate your business. Use this Salem pen and fill out our survey to remain eligible for future Salem offers.

      The survey page said:

      A survey for you and a friend who smokes.

      (It then requested answers about brand loyalty and purchase habits, as well as contact info; name, address, etc. for the friend.)

    While I detest the product, it’s hard to find fault with the approach.

  3. A referrals contest or ongoing compensation plan:These reward your internal non-sales teams, (such as operations, administration, technical support, human resources, etc.) This enables everybody to prosper from the discovery and acquisition of new customers.
  4. Contests that reward your customers or clients for introductions, that produce new business:Merry Maids, a client of mine, specializing in home-cleaning, leaves little tent-cards on a customer’s kitchen counter following a job.

    The front says:

    You’re A Terrific Customer

    The inside reads:

    Thank You!

    To express our appreciation, we’d like to give you the opportunity to receive a check from Merry Maids.

    If you know a friend or neighbor who you think would also enjoy Merry Maids service, just give us a call. Should your referral become a weekly or bi-weekly Merry Maids customer, we’ll send you a check for $25.

    Thanks for your continued confidence in us.

    $25.00 Referral Gift!

    Be sure rewarding or compensating your customers or clients for referrals is cool and kosher. Some industries have specific dos, don’ts, rules, regs and even laws about what you can or can’t do. It’s tough to serve others from behind bars! Therefore, if you’re not sure, consult with an attorney.

  5. Garbage into gold, do the unexpected:Would it be fair to say, when you toss out your garbage, you don’t expect to get anything back?

    Well in April, 1987, my wife and I received an unexpected note from the garbage man. It was neatly folded in a plastic bag and taped to one of the garbage can’s lids.

    It said:

    Dear Highland Park Customer,

    We are family owned and operated and have been in business on the North Shore for over 35 years. We take personal pride in our service and encourage you to call us if you have any problems, concerns or questions.

    If you are happy with our service, we ask that you tell your friends and neighbors about us. You are our best form of advertising. Please encourage your friends and neighbors, if they don’t have our service.

    We thank you for giving us the privilege of serving you.

    Stephen A. Decker, Ace Disposal Service

    This really proves, one man’s garbage, is another man’s fortune!

CHANGE: Capsize or Capitalize!

Byline: Jeff Blackman

Jeff is a Hall of Fame speaker, best selling author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, please contact Sheryl Kantor at: 847.998.0688 or [email protected]. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s FREE e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s Amazon bestselling books include; Stop Whining! Start Selling!, the 5th edition of Peak Your Profits and the recently published, (December, 2022), BULLSEYE! Hitting Your Targets at Home and at Work, which became a best seller within four days of its release. You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults