Episode from the podcastThe Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

210: How to Grow Your Startup With Referral Sales & Marketing

Released Tuesday, 30th May 2017
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Does affiliate and referral marketing really work? In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts, tips, and experiences using this strategy and how it’s impacted their customer acquisition. You’ll find out the importance of asking for that one good referral and learn about Steli’s referral marketing strategy that works like a charm.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:07 – Today’s episode is about affiliate marketing and referral marketing
00:35 – Affiliate and referral marketing is one of the key customer acquisition strategies
00:51 – It is about getting your existing customers to refer your product or service to others
01:18 – Steli asks Hiten if they have done affiliate marketing programs for his SaaS products
01:55 – Hiten has tried and failed trying this strategy with Crazy Egg
02:06 – When Hiten first tried using affiliate marketing programs 10 years ago, they failed at optimizing the product
02:18 – They were successful at doing the partner program
02:49 – A non-competitive company promoted them and vice versa
03:14 – Referral programs, when done right, can be effective - Uber, Lyft or Post Maid have referral programs and are successful at it
03:55 – If you are willing to optimize it, referral marketing can be effective
04:15 – Customers are now used to referral marketing because many companies are doing it
04:46 – Be committed in investing in your referral program
05:11 – It might take three to six months for it to work for you because you have to keep on tweaking
05:44 – Steli has done referral sales but never referral marketing
06:04 – The idea of doing referral marketing has been brought up because new trials are coming in from word of mouth
06:52 – The strategy you use depends on your  unit economics, current customer acquisition cost with your current channels, and lifetime value
07:04 – You should know your limit because it will determine how much you should give, therefore this is not recommended during the early stages of your company
07:27 – Referral programs should be one of your cheapest channels
08:28 – You need a base cost so that you know what you can afford to offer
08:53 – The biggest challenge for a lot of people in the sales industry is that they are constantly running out of prospects
09:30 – Steli says most salespeople would not ask for referrals because they do not want to get a “no” after closing a sale
10:07 – If they do, it is weak
10:35 – Steli tells his customers that they cannot buy from him if they do not refer his product, especially if they are satisfied with it
10:50 – Steli explains that happy customers refer him to other happy customers; and they will agree to refer him because he can focus on providing them a service rather than marketing to other customers
11:25 – Nobody has ever said “no” to Steli
11:38 – After the deal is closed, Steli will remind them to refer him to just one good recommendation
12:08 – At first, your customer will be unsure on who to recommend but if you nudge them again, you will get something
12:32 – Start with asking for just one name
13:02 – If Steli does get a referral and the referral becomes a customer, they will contact the person who connected them and thank that person
13:41 – When the person receives the “thank you” note, he will again think of someone else he can refer to Steli
14:15 – Make referrals as part of the sales process from the beginning
14:45 – Steli thinks people don’t push as much on getting referrals because they are afraid of the rejection after closing a deal
15:08 – Get over the fear and get your systems in place
15:37 – Let Steli and Hiten know if you followed their advice by giving your feedback

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