Ever since we had Jason Resneck on the show a while back talking about “pro-active word of mouth marketing” I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the question he asked: “What is your word-of-mouth strategy?”
One of the ways I knew I needed to up my game was thanking people who referred business to me.
On one hand, I have a strategic partnership with some local businesses and fellow developers that funnel work to me. We already have an agreement in place to pay a commission for closed deals (which is great!).
However, if one of my kind customers sends their friend my way, I feel awkward sending them money for it. Not because I wouldn’t, but because it makes it feel like too much of a “business transaction” rather than a “thank you”.
Besides— should the referral be any less appreciated just because I wasn’t able to close a deal?
So I started my search for something better.
I came across a lot of neat gift ideas; wine, coffee, personalized notebooks, or tins full of delicious cookies.
Physical gifts are tough, though. I have a lot of friendships with people overseas, which can make shipping costs a bit crazy. Plus all these edible gifts bring in the whole issue of dietary restrictions, and sweet temptations.
Digital products seemed much more like the way to go. An Amazon gift card is practical, but it’s pretty bland.
It’s a site called www.TisBest.org. Their service allows you to pre-purchase gift cards that can only be used towards the vetted charities on their website.
Here’s how it works:
I login and purchase and select a gift card amount and recipient. I can hand-craft a nice little “thank you” message and check out.
From there, my recipient gets an email letting them know about the service and prompting them to select the charity they’d like to send the funds to.
Who doesn’t like donating to charity?
Of course, things like cookies and fancy pens are nice, but if you’re anything like me, the last thing you need is more “stuff”.
Here’s what I sent to one of my customers who sent me a referral recently:
Thanks so much for thinking of me, and sending a referral my way. I want you to know how much I appreciate your kindness... but if you're anything like me the last thing you need is more "stuff" to clutter up your desk.
Instead, I thought you'd appreciate being able to make a nice little donation to your charity of choice— on me!
All the best,
Kyle Van Deusen
I’ll admit—I was a bit worried about how this would be perceived on the other end. Does it come off as a bit pretentious?
However, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I got one of the sweetest notes back from one of my customers who was able to find a local charity in their area (outside of my country!) to support.
Here’s part of that note:
“What a lovely way to say thank you and do something good too!”
The way I see it, there’s not much of a better way to spend a few bucks (I sent $20).
It’s unique, it shows you care, let’s your customer decide where the funds go, and it’s a charitable donation for my business.
That’s a win, win, win, win in my book.
P.S. You can see where they end up donating too, which is fun 🙂