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Don’t Bribe your friends and clients…..

This morning I received an e-mail soliciting referrals. The e-mail said that for every referral I give this supplier in the next three weeks, my name will be entered into a drawing for $500. The sad part is that this is one of my suppliers and I spend between $2,000 and $3,000 with this company every year.

My business with this small company is handled mostly by mail and I have not had any personal contact with this business owner in over two years. It was one of those ” out of sight out of mind” relationships. This e-mail prompted me to search for a new supplier for 2012.

Let me share what a good system for obtaining referrals from friends and clients should look like; ( since this is Thanksgiving, I’ll start with this date:

  • Send every client a “real card” to arrive a few days before Thanksgiving. A hand written note expressing your appreciation of their business is a must.
  • If you feel a gift is appropriate, it should be given at this time.
  • Two to three weeks before Christmas call your clients, wish them a happy Christmas season and ask what they will be doing with their family.
  • If it is an especially important client, have the same conversation over coffee or lunch
  • Birthday’s and anniversaries should be remembered with either a personal call or a card with a hand written note.
  • A value added newsletter should be sent monthly.
  • If possible, each client should be contacted, personally, by the owner at least once a quarter

No, this system does not work if you have a retail establishment ( will discuss a contact system for this type of business in the near future), but for a service business it is a must.

He who can take no interest in what is small will take false interest in what is great.

John Ruskin

With my Best Wishes for a Blessed Thanksgiving

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