From The Editor's Desk

Rewarding Your Referrals

Referrals tend to give us a lot, without expecting much in return. And often, we live up to their expectations.

Consider what that means. Referrers are generating business for us, yet don’t receive anything in return for their services. After a while, those referrers dry up, simply because they see no benefit in handing you business.

Referrals are magic to me, simply because people are taking the time out of their day, or using their reputation, in order to help me benefit. However those referrals go, you should still be thrilled that someone gave you a lead, or attempted to help you generate business.

Starbucks gift cards tend to do the trick for me, personally. They have enough firepower at a $5-$10 card, and there are enough locations (more than enough) for them to be redeemed. Plus, people tend not to have a negative image of Starbucks regardless of their political or social spectrum, allowing for the gift card to be used.

Referrals don’t have to be just for the idea of conversion of business either. They can be for an introduction, or help. If you buy 10 Starbucks gift cards for $5 each, that means that you’re likely generating some pretty good leads from others to be redeemed. It also means that you will often get more inquiries, because those referrals now see a benefit to helping you.

In sports business, we tend to think that referrals simply want more of our same product. Hey, they referred us to someone to buy tickets, so that referrer must want more tickets. Doubtful. The referrer likes your product, wants to help your product grow, but may not need more of your product in their life. Think differently. Think of ways to benefit them outside of your product inventory.

Sometimes, it sounds jaded to talk about benefiting a referrer. But they spent time thinking of you, or thinking of ways to help you. The least you can do is pick up their next latte (or god forbid, a Unicorn Frappuccino).

I’ve never had a referrer send back the Starbucks gift card or tell me that they didn’t use it either. Often, they tell me how they load it onto their Starbucks phone app and gain points from it. And with Starbucks, you can even tweet out the gift card to someone across the world, if needed, who helps you with a lead or referral long distance.

These types of rewards matter. Because they mean that you care. You benefited from someone else’s help. They should also benefit from helping you.

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