Motivation means everything in this world doesn’t it? If you’ve ever questioned someone’s reason for doing something you know how important it is.
Paying for the order behind you is kind unless you’re doing it so you can post it on Facebook in order to one up your co-worker who posted something similar and garnered a lot of likes and praise. Motivation can take a nice gesture and turn it into something no one wants to be a part of.
Type of Referrals: Social Versus Transactional
They way you go abut asking for referrals is important too. There are two kinds of requests that motivate action when it comes to referrals — social and transactional (or marketing-based). Either way you are asking for the same thing — someone to refer you. The critical distinction lies in how you do it.
Social referrals are the type of requests we ask of those to help us. Will you please help us at the Shop Local event? It’s a personal request for help. Most people, if they are able, will try to accommodate you at least once. The more they like you and what you provide them, the more often you can make requests. They get satisfaction from helping you, assuming you express your appreciation.
A transactional or marketing request for referral is one in which you provide your members with an incentive to help with referrals. The problem with this type is that it does not have the same lasting effect and recurrence that the social referral does because it is seen as an exchange and when the exchange, or transaction, is over so is the referral.
The power of the transaction in limiting/shaping desired behavior can be seen in day cares. These businesses often have problems with parents coming late to pick up their kids so many of them started charging a flat fee for late pick-up. Instead of the number of late pick-ups decreasing, they increased, because now the parents saw themselves as paying for their children’s additional care. It wasn’t an inconvenience as far as they were concerned, because they were paying for it. It was a transaction for them. They paid. They got extra time. (It wasn’t until day cares went to a punitive $5-10 a minute for every minute after x hour that they saw this change.)
Transactional referrals have a limit to what they accomplish and they don’t instill the same good feeling behind what a social request can do. If you want to increase the value and passion behind what people are saying about you, you need to do more of creating a positive referral environment (through engagement, valued offerings, and good content) and less incentivizing for transactional referrals.