Are personal referrals still relevant?

personal referrals

My accountant proudly stated to me earlier this year that his business runs on referrals and he has “no intentions of having a website or any kind of online presence.”  I pointed out that he was ranked #7 in a local Google search.

“But that’s impossible!”

He had no idea that he was findable online, let alone on page 1 of a Google search.

Impossible?   Clearly not.

Fortunately for him, there was nothing bad.  That’s not always the case for others.

If your business has always relied on referrals, chances are that you’re good at what you do.  Maybe the demand > supply for your services.  Maybe your skills are better than your competitors.  Regardless, you’ve been in a good spot.

Think about it- your customers appreciate you so much that they literally go promote your business for you for free and you can rely on them to do so.  Hopefully you appreciate them!

Have you ever wondered how much your business relies on these loyal soldiers?  It’s crucial more than ever to think about how the dynamics of these referrals have changed.

The promoters’ audiences now access additional information with ease.  When they search for your phone number or address online, they’ll just as easily see how others perceive you.

If you’re a doctor, you may not know that 4/5 referrals go online to check you out online.  Non- healthcare businesses have an even higher rate of “validation” of referrals.

  • 73% of people lose trust in a brand when their listings (i.e., phone number/address/hours/website) are inaccurate
  • CMS data shows that between 30-60% of doctors have inaccurate information listed online (see 21 Medicare health plans warned to fix provider directory errors)
    • Most online sources see the number of inaccurate listings to be >60%.

Whether you want an online presence or not, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ll be found online.  Chances are, your loyal customers will continue to be your best asset.  But it’s up to you to determine where their audience finds you and how you look.
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