web marketing

Search site

Web Marketing Resources Home

Web Marketing Articles

Search Engine Optimization

Free Training

Marketing Jokes

Current Issue

Back Issues

John's Articles

Free Search Engine Marketing & Optimization Tools:

Keyword Suggest
Keyword Density
Keyword Typos
PageRank Search
Future PageRank
Link Popularity

Chamber of Commerce - on the Web logo


 By Bob Serling

Every business owner and manager knows that referrals can be one of the easiest, most effective and least expensive ways to win more business. 

Yet very few companies have active, ongoing referral programs in place.

How to Get Industry Experts to Give You Hundreds of High-Quality Referrals

Getting industry experts to gladly give you hundreds of high-quality referrals is an exceptional, little-known technique. The fundamental concept is simple, it's easy to implement, and it works extremely well.

In the remainder of this issue, I'm going to show you two different variations of the fundamental technique, backed up by real examples of each variation in action. By the time we're done, you'll have everything you need to start reaping powerful benefits for your business.

So let's get started!

Harnessing the Power of Industry Experts to Build Your Business

Getting recognized experts in your industry to provide you with a steady stream of high-quality referrals couldn't be easier. The entire technique can be summed up in one sentence:

Contact an industry expert, educate them about your product or service, and ask them to help you.

Now, perhaps you're thinking that I've lost my mind here - that no industry expert is going to help someone they've never heard of before. Or that there must be some trick I'll reveal later that will render this technique impossible to use for companies that aren't well known or don't have a lot of cash to burn.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Any business can use this technique, regardless of how small or how big you are, regardless of whether or not you're well known, and it costs only pennies to implement.

Let me show you some specific examples of this technique in action and you'll quickly see exactly why it will work so well for your business.

How to Get Well Known Experts to Gladly Give You Highly Qualified Referrals...Even When They've Never Heard of You

A few years ago, when my partners and I started our company to offer advanced testing and assessment software to the training industry, we knew that getting the leading experts in the industry to provide us with referrals would be a fast route to winning business we couldn't otherwise get without this technique. Finding the experts for our industry was easy. A few searches using different keywords on Google turned up all the trade shows, trade magazines, and other industry resources we needed.

Next, we looked at the promotions for the trade shows to see who the keynote speakers were, visited the web sites of the leading trade publications to see which experts regularly contributed articles or were featured in articles, and scoured other resources for similar information. In just a couple hours, we acquired a strong understanding of who the most respected experts were in the industry.

The next step was to put together a simple email to introduce our software, explain in a couple of short paragraphs why it was different and the benefits it provided for any business, and let the expert know that since they were so highly respected in the industry, we felt certain that they would want to know about our software. We closed the email by offering a special link where the expert could take a quick demo of our software and invited them to give us their candid opinion of its value, good or bad.

Even though we were completely unknown to them, four out of every five experts we contacted took our demo and emailed their opinions to us. This alone was very beneficial. We received a number of excellent recommendations for improving our software and warnings about functions that appeared to be problematic. All of this helped us improve the quality of our software significantly.

More importantly, we opened discussions with a number of these experts who wanted to know more about us, our software, and our business plans. One expert who took an avid interest in us was recognized as one of the top three authorities in the field of online training. After a few emails back and forth, we invited her to be part of our advisory board and offered her some stock options as an incentive.

She immediately accepted and told us she would like to set up a luncheon to introduce our software to the training directors of 10-15 major corporations. We immediately agreed and within a few weeks we were presenting our software to a dozen training directors we never could have reached so quickly on our own.

As our relationship with this expert grew stronger, we asked her if she could recommend other experts who might want to join our board of advisors. She gave us a few excellent referrals, one of which resulted in us adding a new board member who was a senior vice president of a Fortune 500 corporation. Naturally, even more referrals flowed in as a result of this.

Why This Technique Works So Well

So why would well-respected experts take the time to look at the product or service of an unknown company and agree to help them? There are two reasons.

First, no one wants to be left behind, especially an expert who takes pride in being a leader in their field. So it's in their own best interest to take a look at a product or service that delivers a significant benefit to members of their industry (your customers). Your job, then, is to find an irresistible benefit your product offers that will make an industry expert stand up and take notice.

Secondly, experts like to help other people. They enjoy the sense of giving back to their community, so if you show them something that truly benefits that community, many experts will be more than happy to help. Plus, by bringing new and useful information to the community members, it helps the expert retain their reputation for being a leading source of valuable information.

Using the Piggy-Back Approach to Get Referrals from Industry Experts

Another technique we used successfully in our software business, and that's worked well in my other businesses and for my clients, is a technique I call the Piggy-Back Approach. This is another technique that is incredibly simple and costs almost nothing to implement.

In order to build credibility for our testing and assessment software, I created a white paper (which is a fancy name for a report) on the effectiveness of different types of testing and assessment. I invited three highly respected experts to be interviewed for the article, with the condition that they must take our 5-minute demo before the interview. All three experts agreed to participate in the white paper.

The results were even better than I had expected. Before the interviews even took place, a couple of these experts asked if they could show our demo to some of their own clients. Of course we agreed - we even offered to pay a finder's fee if that wouldn't create a conflict of interest for the expert.

The actual white paper was never published as we were acquired by another company before the paper was completed. But with other similar reports or white papers I've done, the referrals you receive are abundant and of the highest quality.

Once the white paper or report is ready, which is best done by posting it on your web site, the "piggy-back" aspect kicks in. All contributors are notified and invited to tell their clients and business associates about the white paper. This always results in a large number of people visiting your site and reading or downloading the white paper. Since your product is one of the featured solutions, many of the people who read the white paper will contact you to find out more about how your product can help them achieve their goals.

Plus, many of the people who have been referred by the industry experts who appear in the white paper will refer other friends and business associates. Finally, and although this isn't a referral technique, you can also benefit immensely by notifying the trade press that a new white paper featuring these industry experts is available for free on your site. The name recognition of the contributing experts always gets press coverage that brings even more business your way.


As you've seen, it really isn't difficult to get the most respected experts in your industry to give you hundreds of highly qualified referrals. All it takes is identifying a superior benefit that your product or service offers the industry and having the courage to ask industry experts to work with you.

When you do, I know you'll be pleasantly surprised by how effective these simple techniques can be for your business.

All that's left is to brainstorm ways you can use them for your business, put one or two into action, and reap the benefits. And when you do, I'd love to hear your success story!

Bob Serling is the editor of Lab Rants, a free online newsletter dedicated to helping people create lucrative new products and services and sell or license their product ideas for millions. He has helped dozens of companies create new products and position their products for greater profits. Bob holds patents on an advanced testing software suite, a consumer product, a toy, and a business service. You can get a free subscription to Lab Rants by visiting http://www.LabRants.com


©WebMarketingEzine.com 2000-2015
Postal Address: 13 Finnerty Pl. Kambah Canberra ACT 2902 Australia
+61 2 6282 6266