It’s one thing to tell your customers how great you are. It’s a much bigger, better thing to have respected community influencers tell your customers how great you are. It’s the thing that can ramp up your marketing to create immediate, measurable results. Here’s how…

1. Make a list of 10 VIPs…Very Influential People…in your community.

  1. VIPs are folks whose opinions are sought by others in the community, especially your target market. For instance, if you are a plumber, make sure to have a reputable carpet cleaning company owner on your list. Also, have a few politicians, media people, and realtors on your list. These folks have big contact lists.
  2. Commit to contacting each of them at least 5 times over the next few months.
  3. The intention is to make a connection, maybe make a friend. Don’t focus on selling anything.

2. Do something nice for each VIP…

  1. If you know they are passionate about the local Boys and Girls ™ Club, offer to get involved in some way…spread the word, donate something, join in as a volunteer.
  2. If you see them in the news, send them a copy of the media clip with a “Well done!”
  3. If they do great things in the community, send them a personal note saying, “Thanks!”

3. Stop by and say, “Hi!” Bring donuts or a basket of fresh fruit.

  1. Ask for a brief face to face meeting. Lunch or coffee is good! You treat. Or, you can make a date to meet them at their office.
  2. Bottom line: make a friend and see if there is a way you could help each other out.

4. At that meeting…

  1. Ask questions! Perhaps these questions…
    1. “What’s your most pressing business challenge?”
    2. “What is your primary goal for this year?”
    3. “Would you be open to a way we could help each other?”


  1. If yes to the last question, introduce them to a referral marketing program that offers VIPs incentives for recommending your product or service.
  2. Here’s one example of how a referral program could work…
    1. Anytime a customer mentions that they called or stopped in because of your VIP, you will send the VIP a $Bonus Bucks certificate. You will do all the tracking on your end. Easy!
    2. Make the Bonus Buck an appropriate dollar amount…say 5-10% of an average sale. Create a cool coupon to give away. See attached for an example from one of my clients. If on your Budget, you have 5-10% of sales devoted to Marketing…you are well served to give it to folks who recommend you.
    3. They can use the Bonus Bucks…or give them away. The Bonus Bucks are transferable, useable for any service or product you offer, and could be cashed in for real dollars. They can save them up. They can use as many as you have at one time. There is no small print or asterisk on the Bonus Bucks. Again…make it easy!
    4. Offer to present Bonus Bucks at one of their team meetings or Sales meetings. You can craft a short presentation addressing one of the challenges or opportunities. For example, if you are a contractor, you could share “Five Deal Breaking Repairs…and How To Get them Fixed,” at the weekly Sales meeting for your Realtor VIP. You can provide Bonus Bucks for them to share in their new customer gift baskets.


5. Contribute time, products and/or money to your VIPs’ “pet” causes.

Get a testimonial with pictures and kind words. Make it easy on them by taking the pic yourself and crafting the copy based on the nice things they say about you. Be sure to get their approval! Then, plaster their thoughtful testimonials and pictures all over your site, your Facebook page and in your direct postcard marketing.

Ultimately, business-to-business marketing is about helping each other out. Find authentic ways to do that…and the result is a rockin’ reputation and lots of sales.

“It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.” ~Harvey Firestone