vBarter - Referrals & Viral Marketing
Posted by Bruce Kamm on March 20 2013 01:16 AM
There are several "out of the box" ways to get and track referrals.... Many years ago, when I owned a barter exchange in NYC, we used Purchase Orders to not only get referrals from members, but also to show the referred companies that we had immediate new business for them if they agreed to accept payment in trade. 
It was quite simple. We had a short form that we completed with the details provided by a member looking for a specific product or service. We asked them for three to four companies that they would be interested in purchasing from. We then took the Purchase Order to the referrals and one by one asked them if they were interested in providing the product or service. We actually played one against the other by showing them the Purchase Order, so that they could see that there were two or three other companies we would be going to with the new business if they didn't agree to do the job on trade.
More often than not, the first or second company agreed, we had a new member, we satisfied the needs of an existing member, and typically it was a significant trade. Two specific transaction I remember that were closed using Purchase Orders were a $5500 revolving door for a restaurant, and a $35,000 glass enclosure for a restaurant's patio.
Today, we replicated this proven referral system by integrating Purchase Orders into the vBarter trade exchange management software so that the process becomes automated and even easier... Members enter the details for the Purchase Order and save it. Then, the exchange can print the P.O. and give it to a salesperson, who uses the Purchase Order to close the deal and convert a referral to a member. The upside is not only does the exchange get a new member, but they also facilitate a significant initial trade, as well as satisfy the referring member's need.
There are other unique ways to create referrals that incentivize businesses to join an exchange. By incorporating these features into our barter software, vBarter actually encourages existing exchange members to generate new transactions that leverage their purchases into generating new members that join the exchange to fulfill their request.
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