In today’s business with so much competition vying for customers, if you don’t  have a good referral system in place, you’re missing the boat. THE REFERRAL ENGINE: TEACHING YOUR BUSINESS TO MARKET ITSELF, by John Jantsch may be just what you need to put your referral system in place. Geared for the small business owner, there are plenty of ideas here applicable to large corporations as well. This is possibly the most complete work on building a referral network available.

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As if you need persuasion, Jantsch first builds the case for why you need referrals in your business. That part seems like a “no-brainer” to me so I won’t elaborate here. The next chapter is a “no-brainer” as well, but one often overlooked, and that is the importance of how employees view the importance of building referrals. This is a 3-pronged stool;  the employee must know clearly what is expected, have the proper tools to do what is expected, and receive appropriate praise and feedback when expectations are met. This, of course, is predicated on the notion that your employees first believe in the company. If they truly believe that your company offers world class products or service, then they are doing a disservice to their customers by not asking them to refer their friends.

Chapter 3 examines the Path to Referral by introducing the 4 “C’s” of marketing; content – context – connection – community. The question is posed, “Where does your company fit in?” Here we examine the customer life cycle and an expanded view of collaboration; collaborating with prospects, customers, staff and businesses within your network.

The next few chapters look at building a referral system that is right for you. Jantsch covers just about every aspect of referrals and sprinkles in plenty of real life business examples of these systems being successfully used.

Once you reach Chapter 10, your mind will be swimming with new ideas you want to implement right away, but Janstch leaves no stone unturned as here we look at what to do when referrals start coming in to do business with you. We look at what can be learned from these referrals and what to do at this point in the process. There are also some valuable resource links for online tools that will be essential for small businesses to build a successful referral network.

Chapter 11 looks at developing “Referral –specific Campaigns” such as landing pages, community events and exchanging services for advertising. Chapters 12 & 13 wrap things up with Snack-sized suggestions that looks at successful referral systems for specific types of businesses, with plenty of real-life examples, and a workshop for putting it all to work for you.

This book has been a pleasure to read and I’ve learned a lot from it. I have only one knock on the book. Mr. Jantsch desperately needs an editor. The work is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and typos. If you can overlook that, this book is a gem.


Monty Rainey is a District Manager with over 14 years in the self storage industry currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at .

About montyrainey

Public Speaker and District Manager. Mission: To empower and inspire others professionally, personally and spiritually to elevate their lives to a higher level.
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1 Response to Book Review: THE REFERRAL ENGINE

  1. Pingback: BNI Meeting – Business Igniters Chapter – Visitors Welcome! Location: Eden Prairie Community Center « CTeBockhorst's Blog

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