This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Phillip Gibbs – a business coach who is an expert in referral marketing.
In this week’s episode, Katie and Phillip talk about how referrals work best – and how to create a system to strengthen the process. He uses a simple six-step framework to ensure he builds and maintains great relationships and collaborations and shares it with us here.
Notebooks and pens at the ready!
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Phillip Gibbs: business background
Phillip has always loved the collaborative, relationship side of marketing, so he set up his business around these key pillars. Referral Funnels is the name of his company, and he helps coaches, consultants, trainers and entrepreneurs to leverage the power of referrals to grow their business.
“The best quality leads come from relationships. We’ll often go to our network and community to ask for help – so I wanted to tap into this, to build up a network of referral partners to help promote our business.” – Phillip
Quality vs quantity
Phillip had built (and sold) a business before Referral Funnels, so he had a good network of business contacts and started to get enquiries about what had helped him grow his businesses. He talked about the key tactics that helped him reach his goals: setting up partnerships, collaborations, joint ventures, and having people refer his business to others.
People wanted to know more – so he began working 1:1 mentoring and consultancy, which Phillip loved doing.
“I’m a people person. I love sitting down at the table and getting down into the detail of how businesses generate leads and convert them. That gets me excited – I love it!” – Phillip
The transition from 1:1 came about when he realised he wanted to meet more people – people who couldn’t afford to work. He started running in-person workshops, and in 2014, he got curious about the potential of online programmes. By 2015 he had launched his first online course (and cringes over the videos when he watches them back!) – and has continued to ride the waves of online marketing.
He now offers online-only courses, hybrid face to face and online programmes and is in the process of launching an app.
Phillip’s framework for relationship building
Katie is curious about what the day-to-day looks like when you’re focusing your business on building relationships to find collaborations. Phillip uses a simple framework – and he encourages his clients to do the same.
Time block two (2 hour) sessions to work on it
Phillip blocks out two hours on a Tuesday and Thursday to work on this part of his business.
Session one is about finding people to collaborate with – people who are likely to have Phillip’s ideal clients in their audience. He’ll look for opportunities to guest on podcasts, interviews on Youtube, or speak in FB groups or communities.
“I look for people who don’t serve their audience in the same way that I am. I call this complimentary but not competing. I can share my wisdom with that community – and people can come across to me.” – Phillip
Session two focuses on strengthening relationships already in place. The type of activities he does here is much more personal. He’ll make sure he’s up to speed on his client and partners’ business activities, send handwritten notes, thank you cards or get well soon cards if someone’s poorly. He knows how good it feels to have someone reaching out and championing you – so he enjoys being that person for others.
Advice for making a significant impact
When reaching out to people to collaborate with, Phillip recommends looking for ways to make more effort. For example – if someone has written a book, or hosts a podcast, read it or listen to it so you can comment directly on the work they’ve done and how it impacted you.
Phillip believes you’ll be in a much better position to grow the relationship by putting in more effort at this part of the relationship. It only takes a small amount of extra time to set yourself apart because other people so often take the easy (copy-and-paste) option when they’re reaching out.
The benefits of building a strong network in business
Phillip describes himself as a people person. He genuinely enjoys meeting people and learning about their businesses and skills. He’s built a network around him full of positive, inspiring and talented individuals so he always has someone he can turn to if he needs help – and vice versa.
“When you’re on your own, it can derail you. When you’ve got a nice network of genuine, talented people who you’ve helped – and they’ve helped you – we can stay on track and enjoy our businesses so much more.” – Phillip
A six-step framework for referral marketing
Phillip has devised a straightforward framework for helping clients understand the power of referrals – and how to strengthen them as a way to grow your business. Here, he shares the six stages with us (and head down to the resources section for a downloadable version)
1. Locate our ideal partners
This starts with understanding who your ideal customer is. Partners, ideally, are influencing an audience that contains your ideal customer (in a different way from how you would serve them).
If you can get inside your ideal customer’s mind, ask yourself these questions (and write down three things each):
- What do they think when the product/service I offer is a great solution for them
- How do they feel when the product/service I offer is a great solution for them
- How are they verbalising that? What are they saying? What might they share?
Phillip gives great examples for answering these questions, so make sure you catch the full podcast episode, so you don’t miss it.
Once you’ve established the who – it’s easier to find places where they gather. Possibly podcasts, books, Instagram, paid membership – people tend to gather when they have a problem they want to be solved.
2. Recruit them by reaching out
If you’ve identified the people you’d like to collaborate with somehow, it’s time for outreach. There is a right way for Phillip to reach out to people for Phillip, and there is a lazy way. Phillip recommends reaching out in a different way.
Go more profound than the average person would – make more effort, do more research. Make a footprint into their space and make an introduction in a novel way. Introduce yourself and show how you offer value to people.
“They can either say yes, (they want to do something with you) or no. Both are fine.” – Phillip
3. Motivate them to take action
Once people have agreed to work with you – to promote your business or collaborate on a project the next step is to motivate them to carry out the work they’ve agreed to. Phillip urges you to do much of the work for them – write the emails, create assets to post on social media, go live with them, so it’s engaging for your audiences.
This step is about making it easy for people to choose to refer you – it’s about the relationship, it’s not about the money.
“I love working with people who see there’s an opportunity to share insights, wisdom, knowledge with their community – in a different way, a different viewpoint than they have. People with the community mindset will see the opportunity for what it is – rather than a cash making exercise.” – Phillip
4. Share your value
You can help people experience what the product or service you offer might be like. In this step, you share content and experiences to help people understand what you offer, and how you can help. This might be giving a mini training course, an e-book, a buyer’s guide, insights to improve in a specific area. In the context of The Whin Big Podcast, we’re currently demonstrating step 4!
5. Convert referral leads
You need to act on referrals quickly – slow responses to a referral doesn’t just damage the sale, but potentially the relationship you have with the person who referred you. Phillip has a 3-step automated system that helps new referrals feel included straight away. This usually looks like a welcome email, followed by an invitation to book a time to chat or view a video, or it might be a discount code to share value straight away.
6. Reward your partners
Make your partners feel fairly rewarded for bringing people into your world. Phillip thinks it’s important to show your appreciation to the people helping you grow your business. Track everyone that comes your way, so you know who to say thank you to – and how to reward them appropriately.
“Don’t worry about the amount you pay per sale – but always try to go best in class for the amount you can afford. If you are sending someone a pen – send them a really nice pen. Stretch the budget – do the best you can in that category. People appreciate it.” – Phillip
Phillip’s best piece of content
Phillip sees the power in storytelling and his best performing content comes from a traditional story around how the lion became king (spoiler alert: because lions collaborate and come together as a team to survive) as a way to demonstrate the benefits and outcome of referral marketing.
They share this on social media and in email newsletters several times throughout the year to promote and market new offers. It’s also on the Referral Funnels App page, linked below, if you’d like to see it yourself.
What’s on Phillip’s business bookshelf?
Todd has helped Olympians and CEOs achieve peak performance. The book tells the tale of how pepel get into the zone of peak performance and overcome false beliefs and fears that hold them back from achieving their goals. It’s about assuming an alter ego to level up and get over your false fears.
Anyone who sells skills, knowledge and expertise online then you absolutely have to read Expert Secrets. Bronson unpacks all of his knowledge around growing an online community in an easy to understand way. It’s worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Phillip admires what he’s done in the business community world. There are some great nuggets in there around the concept that you can take the smart play – and be patient – rather than pushing through to get to your goals.
Keep the conversation going with Phillip Gibbs
Resources from this episode of The Whin Big Podcast
App creation – Passion.io
More on relationship-based marketing with Suse B Bentley (podcast)
A note about affiliate links:
* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to support your local bookshop, and a small amount comes to The Whin. So the books won’t cost you any extra!