E-TTRACT More clients by understanding 'The Ultimate Question'

I thought the ultimate question was that one about the meaning of life! But ever since the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy delivered the answer (42, by the way) there has been a gap in the market for a new ultimate question.



According to author Fred Reichheld, this question is actually "how likely would you be to refer a friend or colleague to my business?". In his popular book, The Ultimate Question 2.0, he spends a lot of time detailing why he believes all business owners should consider this to be the most important question you can ask your clients.  He is referring, of course, to surveys of customers - not the meaning of life. But for some businesses, referrals from clients could be almost as important.

I know that Telstra and some other large corporations take this question so seriously that everyone is measured and paid on the answer customers provide.  That's pretty serious when the CEO gets part of his bonus based on whether customers appreciate his company enough to recommend their friends.

So why is this question so important? Here are three reasons why: 


1) Because it tells you about your brand. The value of this question is that is encompasses so many answers to other questions. If you were to ask how happy you are with the service, if the price was right, how was the perception of the brand, etc., you would get a good idea of their satisfaction. But we know that people will not refer you to a friend unless they score you highly in all of these areas. It's a short-cut and in this day and age, short is better.

2) Because it is short.  Have you seen these surveys that promise to be only a few minutes but actually are so long they remind you the lines at Disneyland. You know the ones - you think you are about to get on the ride, but it's actually just the end of line 1 and the other 5 lines are hiding just around the corner. Grrrr! 

If companies are prepared to offer me an iPad, I would spend some of my precious time to answer the 58 questions but, for free? You’ve got to be kidding. Telstra, on the other hand, do it well. At the end of every call, the automated recording asks you to hold on for a survey and it's one question - the ultimate question. Neat. Xero accounting software has a nice survey on all their website pages too:  "Overall, how are you feeling about Xero?" with three faces. Cute and simple but not quite as compelling as that ultimate question.

In the fast-paced world where short is betterif you can only squeeze one bit of feedback out of your customers, make it this one.

3) Because referrals are gold. Referrals in businesses have a closure rate of about 25 - 50%, depending on the type of business you have and how respected the referrer is. In my business, the closure rate is about 50% or greater. Needless to say, it's a vital part of our business. When you compare referrals statistics to an internet marketing campaign where a good close rate is 1% of click-throughs, referrals suddenly look pretty good! You can read more about referral marketing here. 

The Ultimate question and use of the Net Promoter Score is a genuinely effective way to measure exactly how many clients are prepared to refer you. Then you can work on increasing this score over time.

There you go - Andy's personal guide to using the Ultimate question in your business surveys to e-ttract more clients to your business via referrals.  

Keep e-ttracting,


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Andrew Ford

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.