5 Ways to Generate More Referral Business

Everyone loves getting referrals. I know I do! When a prospect comes to you by referral, there is a pre-established sense of trust which makes for an easier sale and a great start to your business relationship.

So why do so many business owners invest large amounts of time and money trying to attract “cold” prospects while ignoring the vast amount of referral business they could be tapping into?

While I don’t have the answer to that question, I do have 5 Ways to Generate More Referral Business:

  1. Be Referral Worthy. If you want referrals to be a major source of new business, you need to make sure your business is referral worthy. What can you do to create a memorable experience for your customers? What do your customers value, and how can you provide this in a way that your competitors don’t? Going that extra mile will turn happy customers into raving fans who will want to tell their friends about you.
  1. Choose Your Referral Partners.There are many potential referral sources: current customers, people in complementary industries or even people in the same industry whose client base is slightly different from yours. Who are your best customers? Who can put you in touch with the types of people/companies you want to attract?
  1. Make It Easy.You are busy, so are your referral sources. Make it easy for them to refer you. Consider writing an email that they can forward to their contacts talking about your company. It should be written from your customer’s perspective and give a few reasons why they like dealing with you and how it could benefit their contacts. In most cases, the purpose of the email isn’t to complete a sale; it’s to open the door to a conversation between you and the prospect, so keep this in mind when writing the copy. Ask to be cc’d on the email, and for them to mention that you are being cc’d in their message. This gives you the recipient’s email address and permission to follow up with an email of your own.
  1. Host Events.Invite your customers and referral partners and encourage them to bring potential clients along. People love events that include food & drinks. You may want to have an open house or networking mixer, or perhaps something more intimate such as a small lunch or dinner for select referral partners and their guests.
  1. Offer Incentives.  While receiving a referral commission may not necessarily be what motivates people to send referrals, it is good to offer something to show your appreciation.Depending on the amount of your referral fee, a gift certificate for something they can experience may be more impactful than a commission cheque.

PS: It is only a referral when the prospect is expecting your call. Otherwise it is still a cold call. Talk to your referral sources and ask them to introduce you by phone or email so their referral is expecting to hear from you.

Do you have any referral tips? Send them along. We’d love to hear what’s working for you.

7 Reasons to Hire a Business Coach

Have you ever considered hiring a business coach? Are you using one right now? If not, I encourage you to have a look at these 7 Reasons to Hire a Business Coach and see if a coach could make a difference in your business.

1. You need help building your team.
Did you know that a business coach can help you to define not only your ideal client but also your ideal employee? Not only that, a coach can help you to improve your leadership and communication skills and create a stronger team.

2. You need to increase profits.
If your business is facing a downturn, or you’re looking for ways to increase profits, consider hiring a business coach. Sometimes we are too close to our businesses to see things objectively and a third party can help us to see more clearly what needs to be done. A coach can draw upon their experience and training to suggest options you may not have thought of.

3. You have hit a plateau.
Do you remember when you were excited about going to work each day? A business coach can help you to re-ignite your passion for your business by helping you to connect with what is important in your business and your life. By working together and setting exciting yet realistic goals, you will be able to gain momentum and get your spark back.

4. You want to be held accountable.
A business coach will not only help you to define your goals, they will hold you accountable. This is especially helpful for solopreneurs who don’t have a team to check in with.

5. You’re looking for fresh ideas.
A business coach is a great person to brainstorm with about your business. They can also suggest books on relevant topics, and recommend exercises that will get your creative juices flowing.

6. You have LOTS of ideas and don’t know where to start.
A coach can help you bring your creativity to order and help you put together an action plan with specific targets and objectives. Now you’ll have a framework to make sure your ideas come to fruition.

7. You need help prioritizing.
It’s important to spend time on marketing and sales activities, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with day to day tasks and put these things on the back burner. A coach will help you carve out time to focus on the important aspects of your business that often get pushed to the sidelines.

Can you relate to any of these situations? Most coaches provide a free initial consultation so you can learn about one another and see if you’d like to proceed with working together.

BTW: If you are a barter member, there are a number of coaches that I can recommend who accept barter dollars and are happy to offer a free consultation.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
Email Us: info@barterfirst.com

20 Ways to Spend Barter Dollars

Being part of a barter exchange is an amazing way to build your business: You are able to make new connections, increase your sales, and conserve your cash.

One of the best ways to be successful with barter is to really incorporate it into your day-to-day life by spending barter dollars instead of cash whenever possible.

Here are 20 Ways to Spend Barter Dollars (and Keep Your Cash!):

  1. Repairing & Maintaining Your Vehicle
  2. Taking Clients Out for Lunch
  3. Printing Your Business Cards and Flyers
  4. Paying a Virtual Assistant
  5. Getting Your Bookkeeping or Taxes Done
  6. Rewarding Your Staff with Barter Bonuses
  7. Rewarding Loyal Customers with Gift Certificates You Bought on Barter
  8. Updating Your Website
  9. Paying for Advertising and Marketing
  10. Hiring a Blog Writer or Social Media Marketer
  11. Having Business or Family Photos Taken
  12. Making Wine to Give Out as Door Prizes
  13. Getting Your Carpets Cleaned
  14. Having Renovations Done
  15. Getting Your Hair Cut
  16. Paying for Your Kid’s Birthday Party
  17. Taking Your Pet to the Vet
  18. Going to the Gym or Yoga Studio
  19. Taking Care of Your Health (Naturopath, Acupuncture, etc.)
  20. Taking a Holiday

Want to know where YOU could use barter dollars instead of cash? “Tick the Boxes” at here to find out. Submit the form for a free review of your business’s barter potential.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
Email Us: info@barterfirst.com

5 Ways to Know if Barter is Right for You

Have you been thinking about joining a barter exchange and wonder if it’s right for you?

There are many benefits to a barter membership. You can get new customers, improve your cash flow, make business connections, and buy things without having to spend cash. However, barter isn’t for everyone. Here are 5 ways to know if barter is right for you:

  1. Do you have room for more clients in your schedule?
    Want to fill more billable hours? If you are booked months in advance, now may not be the time for barter. However, if you have a service based business that is looking for more clients, barter is worth considering.
  2. Do you have excess capacity?
    Do you have a hotel, bed & breakfast, timeshare or other rental space that is not fully booked? Barter is an excellent way to generate income from a resource that would otherwise go to waste. The same holds true for media – if you have a newspaper or radio show that could use more advertisers, barter could be the answer.
  3. Do you have excess inventory?
    Are you a retailer, wholesaler or distributor with inventory you’d like to move? Maybe you have samples, seasonal items or slow moving stock. Barter is a great way to sell these items at regular retail prices instead of discounting.
  4. Do you have places to spend the barter dollars you earn?
    If you are interested in joining a barter exchange, have a look at the other members in the system to see where you can spend your barter dollars. The size of the network is important, but it’s not the only consideration. Spend time with a barter representative who can show you what is available and how it can relate to your business and personal needs. Check out the variety of items available on barter and consider joining the hundreds of barter members who are saving thousands of dollars in cash.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
Email Us: info@barterfirst.com

Using Barter Dollars to Buy & Sell Real Estate

With Vancouver’s hot real estate climate, it’s more and more challenging to get into the real estate market, and while finding a property in Vancouver with a barter component may be unlikely, there are other great options to use barter dollars to purchase real estate and get on the property ladder.

One such opportunity exists in Merritt. There is a real estate group which owns 7 townhomes and is using barter as a way to attract potential buyers. These 3-bedroom, positive cash flow townhomes are being offered for $125,000, with $25,000 of that payable in First Canadian Barter dollars. They are currently rented and can even come with rental protection and property management services if desired.

This isn’t the only opportunity to use barter dollars to purchase real estate. 7 km west of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort, 6 acres of land in a picturesque valley is being offered for $199,000, with 40% of that payable in barter dollars. A lot in New Brunswick, upon which you can build 2 dwellings, is also for sale for $25,000, with 50% accepted in barter dollars.

For sellers, accepting payment in barter dollars allows them to attract new buyers that they wouldn’t have found otherwise, and it makes their properties more attractive compared to others on the market. Last month a 4-plex in New Brunswick was sold for $138,000, with $27,600 accepted in barter dollars. The seller was able to free up the cash he had tied up in the property so he could pursue another opportunity. The buyer was able to purchase a property that generates cash flow. She is also looking forward to taking advantage of the New Brunswick government grant that contributes up to $25,000 per door to revitalize older properties.

John Madsen has been involved in barter for many years and has used barter in more than 100 real estate transactions involving land, mainly in rural BC. John was able to pick up properties using barter dollars during the ‘80s when interest rates spiked and people wanted to unload their recreational and holding properties. Several years ago, he sold a property near Shuswap Lake to a computer repair company that belonged to First Canadian Barter Exchange.

Timeshares are another form of deeded real estate that can be purchased on barter. Over the years, many First Canadian Barter Exchange members have purchased timeshares in various locations including Mexico, Hawaii and Arizona.

Even in a hot market, there are still barter opportunities if you look for them. First Canadian Barter Exchange also has realtors, mortgage brokers, architects, renovation companies, movers, cleaning companies and many other members that will help you to reduce the costs associated with buying and selling real estate. The key is being creative and keeping in touch with your barter broker.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
Email Us: info@barterfirst.com

Barter Your Way to Better Health

Just because good health is priceless, that doesn’t mean it’s free.

While there are many free or cost effective things you can do to maintain good health – make healthy food choices, go walking or running, take time to relax or meditate – sometimes the services of a professional are required. Unfortunately, not all health-related services are covered by MSP and many small business owners don’t have extended health plans.

Continue reading

Small Biz Win Big Contest: We Have A Winner!

This month I had the pleasure of announcing the winner of our Small Biz Win Big Contest. On November 2nd, I presented Nathallee K. Hartwell from The Massage Studio with an award at our Small Business Celebration event at Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria Guildford. As the contest winner, Nathallee now has $25,000 worth of prizes geared towards growing her business. It was a fantastic night where small business owners enjoyed some great networking, good times and delicious pizza.

Continue reading