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The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,708 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The small business guru behind Duct Tape Marketing shares his most valuable lesson: how to get your customers to do your best marketing for you.

The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word- of-mouth referrals are what drive business today. People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague, or even stranger wi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 13th 2010 by Portfolio (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,708 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Chad Warner
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chad by: Duct Tape Marketing
This is one of the best marketing books I’ve read! Jantsch, clearly a master marketer, shows how to guide prospects to you. How? Educate, and you won’t need to sell. He tells how to build a referral engine out of thrilled customers and an engaged network of partner businesses. He covers the concepts and many specific techniques for merging the authentic aspects of traditional marketing with online marketing and social media. The book is about more than getting referrals; it’s about running your ...more
Marc  Binkley
There are some very practical tips in this book for everyone. I picked up a few new ones myself. Having said this, it's not my favorite book.

The basic framework that John lays out is brilliant. Imagine you had every client refer your company and work backwards from there to map out the amazing experience you'd have to create to get there.

However while the volume of lists, websites and digital tools may be useful to some, but i found it overwhelming. Sometimes simpler is better. The tools and l
Mar 20, 2011 marked it as to-read
Great book! Too much to absorb in two weeks, but alas, someone has a hold on it.

Ch 1
People need to make referrals--social capital, save each other time. Nobody talks about boring businesses, so be interesting! Be consistent. Use a system for marketing (figure out what works and develop a process around it). Focus on generating referrals--if you're interesting and good, and you have a system for getting them, you will get them.

Ch 2
Customers must trust you before they'll vouch for you. Be honest a
Samson Sunny
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good business book. Author talks about how to market your product or business. He suggest word of mouth marketing is very important compare to any other types of marketing strategies. First find out your ideal customer group and build trust between you and customers then they will refer the product to his friends and family.

Content, connection and community are the 3Cs in referral marketing. Create lot of content such as blog post, youtube videos, podcast, email marketing, surveys, publishing jo
Paul Denis
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing
Great resource for people looking for ways to increase their business with lots of amazing tips and tricks.

It contains a bunch of spelling and grammar errors, so you will have to stomach those.
David Gamble
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After so many books like this they all start to look the same. This one stands out because it's full of ideas and resources! I'm probably going to revisit this one from time to time just to see how else we can move the company forward. ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Some books are better as an audio book than others. I listened to this book but have it on order from Amazon because it has so many great ideas that I need a hard copy of the material to highlight and reference.

I really enjoyed listening to all the ideas. But now that I am done I really want to go through slowly and really digest the information.
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been so "proud" of not presenting myself as an expert in my field.
This book without saying so- truly presents why referrals are as natural to human beings as breathing.
Please read this book.It may wake you up.
Oleh  Myroshnichenko
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book gives a lot of practical things for business promotion. Recommended.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-related
I appreciated that actionable ideas. I'm going to revisit and incorporate into my business. ...more
Claus Mossbeck
A good read with tips on how to create referrals, however, the author/ publisher promises a bit more than it delivers.
Marcus Goncalves
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read for developing a brand and marketing a business, or yourself!‬
Kyle Marie
Apr 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Some helpful tips, but it is geared more toward a larger business with employees (and mostly product based). As a solo freelancer, not much applied to me, and what did I had read before. The stories and tidbits got repetitive, and I found myself skimming through.
I would give it two stars for me, but I could see the appeal for someone else.
Jennifer Holmes
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Good advice here for small business owners on how to create a mindset of doing business worthy of referral and actively seeking those referrals. As a solopreneur, I connected with some chapters (like the one on creating content) more than others.
Chris Garin
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! So many concrete and actionable examples for different types of companies in different industries. The book covers different areas of the business wherein referral systems can be established. They all make sense and I do think they can work in my business. Highly recommended.
Anas Talaat
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Couldn't get past Chapter 6. It doesn't discuss the academic point of view, but more of a street-talk about getting more referrals. Good read if you are new to marketing or an owner of a small business. ...more
Joseph Riden
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helped to inspire my marketing book. Jantsch's books demystify marketing and make it workable and achievable for non-marketers. De-mystifies the pseudo-mysterious field of marketing. ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reminder read. The best part is the tips used by various industries in the last part of the book.
Mandi Ehman
There is much to like about this book, as my detailed notes show. However, it's an older book and some "best practices" are fairly outdated. I'd love to see an updated version! ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tons of good advices

Very good and practical advices. Finally a book that includes all you need as a professional to build referral and happy clients
Stan Skrabut
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
What if you created a business that automatically referred business to itself? What if we could get current customers to send new clients to our business? John Jantsch believes that this is not only possible but very much doable. In his book, The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself*, he provided guidance for creating a referral process within the business process.

"Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals" (Jantsch, 2012, p. 3).

While I was reading this book, I
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I really enjoyed this book, especially as I made it towards the end. There were so many creative ideas on how to stand out with your customers and strategic partners. For instance, it suggests how to increase your company's referrals, by helping your customers increase their referrals. There are many examples of tools you can use to manage referrals and track strong referrals vs. weak referrals.

Ironically, this book quotes The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann which I just read. It also
Lanre Dahunsi
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

Referrals are about trust and relationship building, and nothing does that faster than showing someone that you are committed to finding ways to help them get what they need to succeed.

The Seven stages of referral development
• Know
• Like
• Trust
• Try
• Buy
• Repeat
• Refer

•There are three ingredients necessary for a rewarding and successful business experience: You must enjoy what you do and feel a sense of purpose; you must be good at what you do; and you must be able to convince other people to p
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Whether you own a business, run a business, are thinking of starting a business, or work within a business (I think that covers it) this book is a must-read. By the time I finished the book my brain was bursting with ways to turn a business into a lean, mean, referral machine. No joke, John talks about implementing referral marketing into every facet of your business and gives a ton of real-life examples of the strategies in action. I'll be reading it several times. ...more
Sunshine Moore
Sep 02, 2013 is currently reading it
I am not going to give this one stars. We listened to the audiobook. Jake is getting quite a bit of inspiration out of it - maybe I should have him review it. For me, there isn't really much in it. Neither of us have backgrounds in business or marketing, so it seems like all of the suggestions are good ones. One thing that would be better, for us, is if it had more suggestions for our type of business. It seems very geared toward business that sell things. ...more
Cory Huff
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-goal, automation
When I started reading this I had just barely crossed the threshold of a business betsy's regular repeat customers and generate more revenue than actually need for my family. I took two pages of notes that were sparked by this book.

I feel like this book would be a handy reference book for any business book library. There so many ideas on how to generate referrals, you can't possibly implement all of them after one reading of the book.
Evie Burke
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
11/2013: Didn't like. Focused on online methods mostly - what to have set up. Was looking for more off line, in person suggestions. Skimmed it. No notes taken
6/22/2014: Liked it better the second time around. Gets better from chapter 8 on. Not my favorite, but a good read and way to pop ideas. Also, probably written by an extrovert for extrovert. I don't think I would be comfortable with some of the methods, they're not bad, just not for me.
Zach Brown
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Referral Engine is a good follow up to Duct Tape marketing. I have used Duct Tape Marketing a TON in developing my marketing strategy and have used Referral Engine to refine it. The book was good, not great only because I think that Duct Tape Marketing covered most of what RE did and in more of an overview fashion, which is what I need at this point in time.
Hussain Al-essa
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
You think you're a social butterfly? Why not leverage it in your own business? The Referral Engine books help you find better clients and narrow the cloud of potential anybodies down 'who would buy from you and what are they like' plus how to reach them. Word of mouth has always been the stronger medium due to power of context, John Jantsh is the person to go to in utilizing this medium. ...more
Jennifer Burke
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
A very worthwhile business book. Marketing, including advertising, PR & promotion all have their places in selling products or services. But Jantsch gets to the core that it's really 'word of mouth' that drives business. We do business with who we trust and like -- so if you are a business, work on being liked and trusted! ...more
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John Jantsch is a small business marketing speaker, marketing consultant, and bestselling author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, The Referral Engine, and The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

Look for The Ultimate Marketing Engine out Sept 2021.

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