Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The latest issue of Spark is out now!

Welcome to the latest issue of Spark Magazine - post budget and pre-EOFY. With so many financial decisions happening that could impact your business and home life, we thought now would be a good time to get some tax tips from the AFA's Financial Adviser of the Year, Olivia Maragna as well as a Budget breakdown  Read Spark Magazine.

I do hope you enjoy

ps Join me on Referron, so I can refer to you

In This Issue...

COVER: Olivia's Tax Tips more
Budget: Ivan's view more
LinkedIn: How to get a Power Profile more
Referron: The best way to build your business with referrals more
Networking: The Golden Rules more
Superannuation: How the changes could affect you more
Event: CeBit Australia more
Event: Get the most out of Govt Funding more
After Hours: Food, Fitness and Fun more
Spark Magazine Cover May

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Referron launches at Cebit

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What drives an entrepreneur?

As John Hagel has said, the risk of embarrassment, ridicule, skepticism, perhaps even humiliation is much less than the risk of not putting oneself out there to try.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Referral Club on the Sunshine Coast

 “We meet in a spirit of co-operation so that we can develop the knowledge and trust to promote each others businesses. 
We are committed to honouring any business referral we are given, and undertake to make business referrals a part of our everyday business practice.
We understand that if we help someone else, we will benefit ourselves.”

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Build Your Referral Business

From , former Guide
Growing a small business is tough work. The sales function is a time consuming task with a constant need to fill your "sales funnel" with fresh, qualified prospects on a regular basis. Finding the best qualified leads from your business does not come from a cold contact situation but from building a strong referral business. Discover the the benefits and 7 tactics to drive the referral marketing for your small business.
Referral Marketing Benefits
The business of referrals makes sense for most companies for the following reasons:
  • Referral marketing reduces your sales expenses and sales cycle. With less time calling cold prospects, your small business can focus on customers and their circle of influence.
  • Referrals can build your level of satisfied customers. The cycle self-perpetuates with more satisfied customers referring others to your company.
  • Referrals increase your sales revenue. According to world-renowned sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, in "Sales Prospecting for Dummies"; your closing ratio for non-qualified leads is 10 percent versus a 60 percent close ratio with referred leads.
    If the prospect of building the referral end of your business is so enticing, why do so few businesses do it? Because they use the wrong approach in building referrals and have limited success. To ensure your business is on track to building referrals, follow these 7 tips:
    7 Sure-Fire Ways to Build Your Referral Business
    1. Set A Target: In business, measure the results to improve performance. Set a clear goal with a time line. Example, 10% increase in referral business over the next 10 weeks.
    2. Timing: Conventional sales wisdom claims the best time to ask for the referral is immediately after the close. This tactic is far too aggressive. Give your clients time to experience your service or product before asking for a referral. Ask for the referral at close only if your client is already delighted with your business.
    3. Top 20: Not all customers are referral candidates. Find the top 20% that are ecstatic about your business and ask them for referrals. Make sure their network is the type of client you want.
    4. Give and You'll Receive: Give your clients extra service and follow-up support before asking for referrals. When you give willingly to your customers, they will return the favor.
    5. Type of Customer: Inform your referring clients of the type of customers you can help. Provide a clear picture of the customer demographics will help your referral marketing.
    6. Rewards Program: Provide special rewards to your referring customers on a regular basis. If a customer provides you with 5 sales, offer them something special, e.g. discounts.
    7. Thank-You: Lisa A. Maini, President of my Marketing Manager, recommends businesses need to establish trust to build referrals. Lisa says, "Create a basic thank you letter that can be personalized and sent to each referral you receive. Treat your referral sources with the utmost of care and you will not only build a foundation of trust but keep hot prospects coming to your door."
    These tips are simple but when executed on a regular basis they can drive your referral business and build sales revenue. Start today and watch your referrals grow.
  • Referrals And Business Growth

    article from Distinctive Leadership 

    We know that referral business is the best form of business you can get. After all, someone has already done the hard sell for you. If a business can increase their referral activity by even a small percentage, the impact to the bottom line can be significant to business growth.

    Referrals, Business Growth and Getting It Right.

    With more than 90% of people now trusting peer recommendation rather than referral, it is imperative for business to ensure that they have got this part of their business operating smoothly. 

    With social media playing an increasingly important role in referrals and extending a person’s network far beyond what was capable even a couple of years ago, the word can spread like wildfire about a business on a global scale, not simply within a small friendship circle.

    Referrals are something that many in business take very seriously. I for one will not refer a business or business person to my circle of influence unless I feel confident in both service and product.(KNOW< LIKE AND TRUST)  It is incredibly important to me that even though I believe a product to be the best solution for someone I know, they must be looked after. The last thing I want to hear about is that their phone calls have not been returned, the service was terrible or that the people in the business did not know what they were talking about. This has happened to me and it makes you cringe and also makes you look bad in the eyes of your peer.

    Business Growth Opportunity

    Business owners should take referrals as the ultimate compliment and a signal that the referrer believes in their business. These referrals must be treated as top priority with the objective to encourage the new client to also be a fan of the business and refer others.

    So What Should A Business Be Doing To Foster Referral Activity And Increase Business Growth?

    1.     Have a clearly defined client service proposition in place and deliver it 100% of the time.
    2.     Have systems and processes in place to support product and service delivery.
    3.     Have a process in place to handle the referral. What happens 1st, 2nd and 3rd etc?
    4.     Thank the referrer for the referral and assure them the referral will be looked after.
    5.     Always provide feedback to the referrer on progress. Do not let them find out any surprises.
    6.     Be open and transparent to both parties, especially if you can not deliver on the expectation. Do not muddle your way through something that will make you and the referral source look bad.
    7.     Under promise and over deliver. Create a WOW experience.
    8.  Have your referral app on hand. 

    Business Growth Strategy.

    Handling a referral in the right way can be a significant brand building strategy that will assist you to attract the right clients to your business. People will do business with you if they know like and respect you. They will also do business with you if they feel valued and get great service.
    The referrer has put their neck on the line for you. Do not let them down. If you do, you are also letting yourself and your business brand down and that is not the way to grow a business. It’s a great way to destroy it and damage your business growth!

    How to Get Customer Referrals

    Customer referrals are one of the most powerful selling and marketing tools available. In fact, the best source of new business is a referral from a satisfied customer. According to Forrester Research, 71 percent of online shoppers read reviews before buying. Other studies also show that customers also say that referrals are of the utmost importance in determining who they buy from and what they buy.
    Given the business potential from garnering customer referrals, it's important to know how to get our customers to refer to you.
    Being able to build a high percentage of business from customers, and even prospects, through referrals is an enviable characteristic of exceptional sales professionals. There is an art to asking for referrals – and getting them.
    •          how to satisfy a customer so they will make referrals?
    •          when to ask for customer referrals?
    •          what is the right way to ask for them?

    1.       Satisfy Customers So They Make Referrals

    The first rule of generating customer referrals is quite basic: make your customer happy. "The very first thing you have to do is provide a great product or service," says Whitney Wood, managing partner of the Phelon Group, a consultancy based in Palo Alto, California, which focuses on helping companies develop better relations with customers. "You shouldn't be trying to get customers who aren't happy with you to give you referrals. First give them something they love."
    Encouraging referrals begins with your very first contact and continues throughout the entire selling and serving process, says Jeff Thull, president and CEO of Prime Resource Group, a strategy and consulting group that advises companies large and small. Thull recommends that you ask yourself the following questions:
                        Are your customers enjoying the interaction?
                        Do they feel they are being listened to, that you understand their problem?
                        Do they believe they are receiving competent guidance?
                        Are they comfortable that your product or service will meet their requirements?
    "All of these questions are within your control and should be guiding your conversation," Thull says.
    Keep in mind the importance of word of mouth as you focus on making the buying process effective and enjoyable – before, during, and even after the sale.

    "Make sure you understand expectations in great detail and follow up after the sale to ensure that your customers are seeing the results they should expect," Thull says. "If the customer is pleased with how they have been treated and served, and with the value they've received, they certainly will be more willing to attach their name to you and your solution. They will be proud to be seen as the source of a great idea."

    2   When to Ask for a Customer Referral

    There is a right time and a wrong time to ask your customers to help you market your product or service. If your business is one where a customer can quickly see the benefit of what they bought from you, then you should ask for a referral soon after the purchase, when they are still excited about the product. 

    On the other hand, if you sell a product or service and the benefit of that is not clear for some time – say enterprise software – then the customer is not necessarily in a position to give you a referral immediately. It may take a long time for the product to be implemented and benefits realized.

    "When you deliver the value your customers expect and you've verified that they recognize it, they see you as a very credible, valued resource," Thull says. "For those customers, a referral is a very logical and comfortable next step in the relationship."

    Due to advancements in technology, there are ways to ask for customer referrals beyond face-to-face or telephone conversations. If you have a customer's e-mail address, you can follow up in an e-mail to make sure that they are satisfied and, in the process, ask if they would refer your business to others. There are third-party websites such as Yelp and Insider Pages that aggregate customer reviews. But new online tools allow you to incorporate customer feedback or testimonials onto your website, where potential customers can read those reviews before they purchase.

    "In today's world, if you have a Web presence, you can ask on your website for testimonials or reviews from your customers after every transaction," says Neal Creighton, CEO and co-founder of RatePoint, which provides online review tools to businesses. "When people come into your business or at the end of a job, if you ask for a referral you just give them a link to a webpage or Web form. If you ask, a good percentage of customers will write a referral if they are happy about your business."

    Creighton advises asking every customer to write a review – whether they had a good experience or not. "We've found that 90 percent of unhappy customers, if you interact with them and try to resolve their problem, can be turned around," he says. "Word of mouth can work both ways. If you're angry, you're more likely to leave feedback." It's important to catch those first and resolve the customers problem before they leave negative feedback.

    Best way is to introduce them to REFERRON,  whereby you can make it easy and fun to refer you and enable others to refer to them! Get them to be part of the social referral network!

    3.The Right -- and Wrong -- Way to Ask for Referrals

    The wrong way!

    'Do you know anyone else who would be interested in or could use our solution?' or worse, 'Do you know anyone else thinking of buying something like this?'"
    These are both demanding requests.When you ask for referrals in this way, you are asking your customer to speculate about another person and their situation, their level of interest, and predict whether that individual will want to buy from you. "We don't think we're asking for all that information, but we are, and that doesn't encourage referrals," Thull says. "If the customer doesn't do all three of those successfully, they will fail at providing a successful referral, and no one wants to fail. The proof is in the response to the request, which frequently sounds something like, 'Not off the top of my head, but if I think of anyone I'll let you know.'"
    If you make a poorly defined, unrealistic request, one that carries a high risk of failure, you shouldn't expect much more in a response. Strong referrals can be gotten through other means, though.

    The right way to ask for a customer referral is a genuine and natural way.
    Online tools allow you to automatically follow up customer transactions through your website with an e-mail directing them to a survey on your website. "After the transaction, say to them, 'Tell us what you think. We'd like to have your review,'" says Creighton.
    While some websites offer customers incentives -- such as discounts or coupons -- for reviews, you need to be careful not to appear that you are trying to buy their review. "Sometimes it's natural and makes sense and sometimes it doesn't," Creighton says. "You need to think about how it appears and what you're giving away and why. That's an area where it's questionable."
    When asking in person or over the phone for a referral, frame your questions to help people bring into focus specific individuals that match their profile with similar businesses and responsibilities, Thull says. Here are two questions he believes work:
    • As you think about the other department managers in your organization, does one come to mind that has mentioned, or that you've noticed, is experiencing [insert similar symptoms] as you were?
    • You mentioned you belong to the local chapter of [insert professional association].  When you think about some of the people who have operations similar to yours, do you recall anyone mentioning [insert similar symptoms]?
    "The only thing we are asking the customer or prospect to think about is an individual who shares their business and job characteristics and may be experiencing some or all of the indicators we just discussed with them," Thull says. "It is much easier for someone to bring to mind a referral based on a focused question rather than a question asking them to consider the entire universe."

      1. 4. Following Up With a Thank You

    Giving referrals is a very generous gesture on a customer's part and you need to take the time to thank the individual who provided it. "The appreciation should be unconditional, that is, thank them for the referral, not the sale," Thull says. "Sending a quick thank you note should not be dependent on or wait until the referral leads to a successful sale. I suggest a handwritten note, not an e-mail. Our fast paced world has gotten a little less personal. Providing a referral is a very personal gesture and it deserves a very personal acknowledgement."

    Always remember to treat the referral with the value it deserves. The worst thing you can do is get a referral and let it slip through the cracks. You could lose a great opportunity, but worse, you will lose the respect of your customer or prospect who put their trust in you. "When showing respect by handling the lead professionally, you will gain respect from your new lead," Thull says. "You are starting at step one, building credibility and trust with the referred prospect. You should have a set process in place for how you will work with and communicate with them from the time you received their contact information on through the life of your relationship."

    After you make a sale to this new customer, remember to send another thank you note to the customer who referred you. "The customer or prospect will be glad for you and feel good about being a part of your new customer's success," Thull says. "That good feeling, and keeping connected, will encourage more referrals and more business success."

    13 Ways to Increase the Number of Referrals You Receive

    1. Provide Superior Quality
    The best thing you can do to improve your chances of getting referrals is to provide a quality of work that blows clients away. Clients that get these results will be your best advertisements as they have had a great experience and can share their story with others in need of great service.

    Without high quality work, you’re unlikely to get many referrals, if any.
    People will refer to people who the know, like and trust! 

    2. Take Care of Your Customers
    Customer service is key. Focus on providing timely and clear communication, and always be professional. In many cases, the service provided is actually what satisfies the client more so than the work itself.

    3. Under Promise, Over Deliver
    It’s a bit of a cliche, but it is very effective in allowing you to keep your clients satisfied. Don’t promise them anything that isn’t likely to happen, and give yourself the chance to out-do their expectations. With this strategy they should never be disappointed.

    4. Ask for Referrals
    Sometimes you just have to ask for what you want. Many clients will be willing to refer you to friends or colleagues, but they may not even think about it unless you bring it up. Remind customers that referrals are a big part of your business, and ask them if they know of anyone that could benefit from your services. If you have done an exceptional job for them, chances are they will make an effort to help you in this way.

    5. Distribute Business Cards
    Whenever you get a chance, give a business card to a client or perspective client. If someone has your business card they can easily contact you and there is no need to search for a service provider: you’re right there for them.

    6. Follow Up with Former Clients from Time-to-Time
    Staying in touch with clients and former clients is essential to developing more referral business. If you’ve spoken with a client recently they are more likely to have you in mind when a referral opportunity presents itself. Those who are able to attract a significant number of referrals have found a way to stay in the forefront of the minds of clients.

    7. Make it Easy for Others to Refer You
    Let’s face it, clients are more likely to refer you if it’s convenient for them. Do they have to search for your phone number, email address, or website address? If so, you’re running the risk that they’ll refer someone else who has made it more convenient for them to do so. Distributing business cards helps in this way, as does periodic mailings or emails.

    Real Estate agents do this very well by sending out things like magnets and calendars to clients (Our estate agent sends us a bottle of wine every Christmas! No phone numbers written on the bottle, though… — Ed). When someone is looking for their phone number, it’s easily accessible because of that magnet on the refrigerator. Having a memorable URL is another big help here. If they can’t remember your URL, they can’t tell their friends where to find you without looking it up.

    8. Have Clearly Defined Services
    Sometimes your clients may know exactly what type of service you have provided for them, but they may not know about some of the other services that you offer. If your services are clearly defined and easily understood, the client might see an opportunity for you to help someone else.
    Your website is probably one of your key methods for communicating information about your services. How clearly defined are they? When a referral arrives at your website, will they be able to tell exactly how you can help them?

    9. Ask Clients for Feedback
    After you have completed a project, it’s a good habit to ask them for their thoughts on the service that you provided. Were they satisfied with your work to the extent that they would be willing to refer a friend? Are there areas that you can improve your work and your service? If you’re able to do a better job of satisfying your clients, you’ll get more referrals.

    10. Have a Competitive Advantage
    If your client is asked to refer a freelancer, what will make them choose you over someone else? Most of us have a great deal of competition with other service providers. Having an edge or a competitive advantage to separate yourself from the pack will pay huge dividends. Take the time to find something that sets you apart from the crowd, and make sure that it’s communicated through your marketing and promotion. As clients come to recognize your competitive advantage you will have a better chance of getting their recommendation.

    11. Thank People for Their Referrals
    When someone sends you a referral, take the time to let them know that you appreciate the fact that they thought of you, and let them know that it makes a real difference for you and your business. Friends, family, and clients will feel good about the impact that they’re able to have on your work, and hopefully they’ll look for even more opportunities to send business your way.

    12. Grow Your Professional Network
    In addition to relying on friends, family, and clients for referrals, developing a strong network of fellow professionals can make a world of difference. Those professionals may have clients that are in need of your services, they may have perspective clients that are looking for something they can’t provide, or the may just have more work than they can handle. In any situation, if they have a contact that they feel is qualified for the job, they’ll probably make a referral.

    13. Get them to join your REFERRON Network.... a group that knows, likes and trusts you , and that you know like and trust

    The Freelancer’s Guide to Increasing Referral Business

    One of the biggest challenges involved in freelance work is reaching and maintaining a steady workload. For many freelancers finding new clients can be a time-consuming process, which leaves less time for income-producing work. 

    What if this effort could be reduced or eliminated? You could more completely dedicate your focus to earning money and doing a great job.
    Increasing the amount of referral business you receive can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of time that is spent on no-income producing activities. Actively working to increase referrals from clients, friends, and family is often not a priority, as many freelancers feel that is not in their control. Instead, they just wait — and hope — that someone sends them a referral.

    Reasons to Love Referrals

    They Find You
    Less work is required on your part to land new gigs via referrals. Less work for the same results is always good.
    Those who are referred to you will have a higher opinion of your services and more trust for you because someone they respect has recommended you. The trust that they have for whoever recommended you is partially transferred to trust in you.
    You Have an Advantage
    If a client is talking to other freelancers in regards to their project, as a referral from a friend you will have an advantage over the others (all other factors being equal).
    Free Advertising
    Word-of-mouth referrals are essentially free advertising for you and your services. Not only is it free, but it’s actually more effective than just about any other type of advertising you can do.
    They Snowball
    The more happy clients you have, the more referrals you’re likely to receive. And the more referrals you receive, the more customers you’ll have spreading the word about your services. In most cases, the longer you’ve been around the more referrals you’ll get.

    Referron Presentation in Melbourne

    Referron Launches

    if you would like someone to refer you to their friends invite them to do so using referron.

    WE WILL GIVE YOU 10 FREE REFERRONS (Leads) when you download the product 

    if you know someone who you think is awesome and want to help them thrive rather than just survive - use referron. (

       to enable you to join my referral network, click here 

      For businesses
      once invited...  become a "referron business" and define your coupons (we call these referrons!) that you will refer your fans for referring and to your leads for trusting the fans to use you!!.... Your first 10 "referrals" are free, thereafter it will cost you "a dollar a lead" (fill up on recharge on the website)

      For Fans
      If you know someone who you believe provides an awesome service, or has a brilliant product, refer them using referron, and ask them to define what their "referrons" (coupons) are

      For Leads
      Get solid referrals from friends who you trust and respect, and get a "referron" (coupon) for trying the product or service

      Feedback appreciated , please!!

      Referron from Referron on Vimeo.