Most Businesses Can’t Survive on Referrals Alone

    August 13, 2003

Referrals from colleagues and friends that turn into sales are the easiest and cheapest money you can make. These types of sales are often what new small businesses are started on. The problem is that many who start out with referral sales end up relying too much on them. This is the case especially with those individuals who decide to become independent contractors. They don’t realize that referrals can end up being far and few between and that they also have no control over when they may come around.

The reality is that very few companies or independent contractors survive on referrals alone. Eventually those sales dry-up for various reasons or just become too sporadic. Often small businesses forget that the big sale they made will run its course.

The problem occurs when no other marketing efforts were made to keep the sales hopper full. The top reasons for this situation are a lack of marketing knowledge, an insufficient marketing budget, ignorance to the need of constant marketing or a lack of time to perform marketing while currently busy.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “you have to spend money to make money”. Well, it’s almost completely true, no matter how small your company is. There are a number of ways to market your company without really spending much money or time, once it’s established.

What many are missing is that the last few years have created a few marketing mediums that are affordable to a company of any size. These mediums also solve the problem of not having enough time for sales and marketing activities.

I’m not talking about miracles or magic here. What I’m eluding to is the use of the power of the Internet. A tool that has been gaining in popularity and power for the past 10+ years. The difference is that now the Web and email are very affordable and viable mediums that allow you to get in front of a very targeted audience.

Targeted marketing is the key to a high conversion rate of prospects to customers and a lower cost for marketing. To make Internet based marketing even more enticing; the last few years have brought about the creation of a slew of web-based marketing automation tools, saving even more time and money.

Regardless of the size of your company, marketing on the Web is a must. It’s cheap and quick to use and it reaches a worldwide, diverse audience. You still need to target specific audiences, but doing so is not difficult at all.

There is a variety of marketing formats to choose from, but even better is that these formats are very simple to test instead of taking a chance by dumping a lot of money into an unknown campaign. Formats include email, search engine submission, paid search engine listings, banner ads, pop-up or pop-under ads, and newsletter ads just to name a few.

Do yourself and your company a favor and add the Internet as a medium for marketing. For some, it may end up being your only source of marketing because of its low cost and ability to be automated. Get a book on the subject and do it yourself or hire a professional to help you out. I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

George Sierchio is a Principal at Action Business Partners
( he helps small
businesses reach their goals regardless of being a start-up
or well established company. He is also the author of
“Internet Platinum- Online Marketing for Offline Businesses”