How to use a referral program in your direct sales business?

So, let me tell you a story. Last night, our “meat guy” came over to do our re-order. See, my husband is a foodie, and he loves meat, and we want good quality food, for a reasonable price. So we found a great company that does 6 months at a time, frozen. We have them deliver, we like the food, we re-order.

Anyway, he reminded me of their referral program. Basically, for every family we refer, we will receive a certain amount of money back towards this order, and future orders. I have to admit, I forgot about it. So, right after he left, I went to the power of social media, posted a review, got 10 private messages to send more information, and about 8 messages on the site. I sent every one of those people a personalized message and answered a bunch of questions. Well, a couple of them have already booked appointments, a couple are thinking. HEY DIRECT SELLING.

Wait, did I call that Direct Selling – well, of course it is. I referred a bunch of my friends and they may buy, and I will be compensated for that. BUT wait, isn’t direct selling a pyramid scheme. This must be bad right, you referred your friends to a product you like and you were compensated….

Lets talk referral programs in direct sales and YOUR business. Any party plan company already has a referral program built in – it is hostess rewards. Someone (usually a woman) invites her friends over to have some tasty food, see a presentation, and if they buy, then the hostess will receive free or half priced items. That is a referral program. BUT, maybe you don’t have a host program, but you still want to create your own referral program. What do you need to know.

1. The “gift” needs to be in line with what the referral is worth. If you are selling a $100 piece of jewelry, you want to look at a gift that costs around $5-$10. Doesn’t have to be something that you sell. I love giving gift cards to local coffee shops.

2. You need to TELL your clients that you have a referral program. Having one and not sharing it, won’t do you any good. So make sure you are reminding your clients what they can receive. One makeup company that I know does a Refer 3 get one free – so if her clients refer 3 people, she receives a free eye shadow.!

3. (this is the biggie so hold on) You have to ASK people for that referral. I knew that the meat guy had a referral program. I hade the sheet mailed to me a few months ago, but I forgot. I got busy, but I tell you the minute he reminded me last night, I got right on it. Remind your customers about the program, ASK them to share the info, and follow up. This is a great way to grow your business.

PS. If you live in Ontario, Canada and like frozen food and saving money, call Tom at Chambers Food (tomchambersfoods at tell him Hope sent you! Then tell me and I will send you a gift card from Tim Hortons – we all win!

Do you have a referral style business?  Let me know what you sell and I would be happy to promote you too!