Several years ago while in the middle of my career at Sunrise Engineering, I worked out playing basketball every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 6:00 to 7:00 am, I and a group of men would religiously exercise to exhaustion each of those days on the Stake Center basketball floor. The group of players were very good, competition was keen, the work-out was intense and it was good to relieve stress and to stay fit. We never fought or argued but, without referees, we did learn quickly that you would never “get the call” when taking a charge in the lane.
One morning one of my basketball buddies told me that his mother-in-law, the Mayor of Fredonia, Arizona, had been meeting with town people discussing the possibility of building a public sewer system in the community. At that time, each resident of that town used an on-lot septic tank and drain field to dispose of sewage. I asked him to call her and then I asked my people to visit her that day to offer our services to help the town make the project happen. Over the course of the next few years, Sunrise Engineering assisted the community to find an attractive funding package, sell the project to the citizens, design, manage construction and start up the new collection and treatment system.
That was the best business situation I could imagine. It was a referral in the Engineering world. I regularly called on all potential clients in our area, checking to see what projects were coming up and if we could help them. That was the equivalent to door to door trackting but the Fredonia sewer project, in missionary lingo, was a referral to an investigator who was baptized.
At Sunrise about 80% of our projects came to us via referrals. They were repeat customers with new projects, which was equivalent to someone in a part member family referring a family member. Also, new projects for new clients also came from self-referrals (from the client himself) and referrals of others from other clients, contractors, agency staff or just people-networks like in Fredonia. All of these had one thing in common, the client knew us and had heard something good about us by someone they knew or trusted.
John Wayne once said, “Life is tough but it’s tougher when you're stupid.” Let us not make life tougher for ourselves. Realize that calling on someone who has invited you to come will be much funner than a cold call or cold contact. The referral will probably have interest in your message and will be much more likely to yield results than a cold door approach.
The Easter Campaign on the member Facebook project proves this to be true. The project consisted of about 4 weeks of a special Easter presentation on the country communication Facebook page with an offer for a free DVD, Finding Faith in Christ.
The numbers for the project as of 12 May 2014 are as follows:
Total Referrals, Easter Campaign 545
Contacted as of 12 May 2014 259 (48% of total)
Positive at Contact 98 (38% of those contacted)
New Investigators 48 (49% of those Positive at Contact)
(19% of those contacted)
Baptismal Dates 5
“Share” on member Facebook page 81
Referrals from Member “Share” 78
From these numbers it can be extrapolated that 20% of the referrals will become new investigators. That will amount to about 110 investigators. This is incredible results when considering the Facebook page had just started at Easter time. Only 2 of the 4 Stakes have had the Facebook project explained to them and the units in those 2 Stakes had not had time yet to call all the social media specialists to work under the ward or branch mission leaders. The Easter campaign was really just put out there to see what would happen and help us learn what to do and not do in the future.
We learned valuable lessons. Members sharing on their personal Facebook page yields referrals almost every time. Awareness of each campaign must increase and members should be encouraged to “Share” the campaign message with their friends. Members should use their personal face book page and obtain as many friends as possible. Members should set up their own profile on Mormon.org. We send the DVD immediately after receipt of the referral and send missionaries who will often be a few weeks before contact is made. The future campaigns should indicate that representatives will come by for a 5 or 10 minute explanation.
Finally, we cannot be satisfied with 38% of the referrals being positive. People who ordered the DVD actually had to enter and send their contact information to receive the DVD. There has to be some level of interest on their part to do that; enough interest to at least listen to our explanation and message for 5 or 10 minutes when we come by. These referrals are sacred and deserve to be contacted and carefully taught.
At Zone Conference next week we will work on more persuasive and none threatening door approaches to improve our opportunities to get in for a few minutes to answer questions or make a comment.