Your referrals are important to business owners. There's a good chance they will pay you a finder's fee for making them. This may amount to a few freebies. It can also be a primary business strategy.
You naturally tell people about products and services you like and use. You're sitting around the campfire chatting and as you reach for the insect repellent, you mention how this one works better than any other you've tried. Someone admires your new earrings and asks where you bought them. You just went on an RV caravan to Alaska and you can't wait to tell everyone about it. You take a delicious dessert to the potluck and three people ask for the recipe. You spend winters in the Rio Grande Valley and the park newcomer asks for a recommendation for a dentist in Mexico. You do those kinds of referrals all the time, without giving it another thought.
But, with some forethought and planning, you could be getting a referrer or finder's fee.
Word of mouth advertising is the best advertising. Most businesses know that and they will reward you for spreading good things about their company and its products and services.
Some companies have a formal customer referral program and actively recruit people to network on their behalf. Others have no formal program established, but may be more than happy to work with you, if you ask them.
It works with both sales referral and lead referrals.
There are several ways to track your results. For online referrals, tracking cookies typically link the referral to your account. Some companies will assign you a rep number that the person can give the order taker or that you can put on any brochures you pass out to people. Some go strictly by your name. I’ve heard of one company that asks you to call the company and then, after making initial contact, they ask you to put the new customer on the line to place the order.
Another way to monitor you results is by using an address (either snail mail or e-mail) that has a code built into it, such as special department. The extension on a phone number can also be a code that identifies who is responsible for the sale. These are apt to be in place with formal referral programs such as you'd find with car rental agencies, motels, and real estate brokers.
It can be simple. Our accountant sends a coupon with our annual tax worksheet, offering a $50 credit for each new customer we send him. A fishing guide we know gives us his business cards, we write our name on the back, and when someone books a fishing trip with him and returns the card, we receive a finder's fee.
Referral marketing is different from retailing. You have no product to inventory, buy, or deliver. Instead, you are an affiliate or intermediate partner. You let others know where they can buy it. You maybe have brochures or catalogs to hand out to interested people.
Official programs exist for RV parts, campground memberships, hitches, publications, and a variety of other goods and services you use every day. They are also common for mortgages, insurance, rental properties, and other high dollar, specialized purchases or services. If there is no formal program, you may be able to negotiate a deal with the business owner.