Over at Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch has a strategy for rethinking the way that we as businesses market referrals to our customers. In short, he recommends changing the framework by which we structure their rewards:
In order to tap the true power of referrals we need to focus on
creating a referral motivation that is about giving rather than taking.
We need to find a way to create an environment where the primary reason
someone makes a referral is because they believe another person will
benefit by them doing so... This mindset changes the referral equation dramatically.
So rather than giving existing customers a simple discount on a product they already receive, consider if there are ways of creating an added service where the customer is motivated to truly reach out to friends and colleagues because they believe that the service will benefit them. Jantsch fills out the example with a health club, but the concept is easily expanded to other membership, retail and customer-focused business models.