Author: John Jantsch

Publisher: Penguin Books – Portfolio – 243   pages

Book Review by:  Sonu Chandiram

In The Referral Engine, author John Jantsch lays out a systematic method of gaining referrals for your small business. It is a fairly well-selling book with 64 reviews and a ranking of about 38,000 on Among business and investing books however, it ranks a high No. 34.

He is described in the outer cover flap as a marketing and digital technology coach and an award-winning social media publisher. He is the author of the ‘small-business marketing bible’ Duct Tape Marketing, which is available in its updated edition, ranks around 54,000 on Amazon’s website, and has 77 reviews, which are basically short comments averaging two paragraphs, by those who have read or at least browsed through the book.

In case you are not that familiar with book reviews and rankings, as a comparison, the popular Rich Dad, Poor Dad has a rank of 572 on Amazon among all books, and 2,540 people have written reviews on it. Among books on investing this long-standing bestseller ranks No.4.

Among the key points Jantsch makes about building your business through referrals are:

  1. Listen to your customers, and not just talk at them.
  2. Train your sales team, your company’s main link to customers, to get referrals
  3. Educate your customers about who they should refer to your company
  4. Understand the customer referral cycle – the way customers refer others to your company, who, in turn, generate even more referrals. He writes that “businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer.”

If everyone in the organization keeps this sequence in mind, Jantsch writes that your business will generate referrals like a well-oiled machine.

A nugget I found in this book is the discovery in science that “people can’t help recommending products and services (they like) to their friends. It’s an instinct wired deep in the brain. And smart businesses can tap into that hardwired desire.”

Jantsch’s referral system in generating prospects for your business (and converting them into customers) is laid out in 13 chapters in this very useful – I would emphasize, essential – book for business owners.

You get a complete package, from beginning to end, on how to grow your business, especially if it is not a low-end mass consumer product you sell, but is based on people trying it, liking it, building trust in it and “telling the world” about it because they believe their friends will like it just as well as they did.

Jantsch points out that the rise of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In,  and others – has made it easier than ever before to grow your customer base and revenue volume. In the past, large amounts of money were required to invest in advertising to market and promote your product.

Today, people talk, ever more than before, to others about products they like. The most common example:  Apple devices – iPads, iPods, iPhones – that are getting a huge boost through social media. As a matter of fact, such products have become the very media or carriers of messages in the social platforms we named above.

The author writes in his Introduction: “This book will show you how to craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors and colleagues.” Underscoring here is mine.

This is an excellent book for you the business owner – whether you are starting out, or desiring to build it to a larger sales volume and profitability. Plus, it can save you a lot of money you might otherwise have to spend on advertising, marketing and promotions.