One of the easiest things you can do to market on a tight budget is to solicit referrals and testimonials. The best way to grow your business is through word-of-mouth referrals.
The number one shoestring budget strategy that ought to be employed is to have a plan to solicit referrals to freshen up your portfolio of testimonials. If you want to set yourself apart from other sales organizations, then get yourself a portfolio of testimonials. You can hang them on the wall in your showroom and include copies of testimonial letters in proposals to show there are other people with similar needs. The accolades that were bestowed upon you by someone else is what your current prospect can hope to get by doing business with you.
When soliciting testimonial letters, you might have a really good customer that you can go up to and ask to write you a testimonial letter. They might agree to it, and then you go back to them three or four weeks later, and nothing’s been done. The client might say they’re not good at writing or didn’t know what to write, or this and that. At that point, you can then offer to draft up the letter for them. In that draft, you’re going to put in what you hope to be, or what you know is your unique value proposition, typically, and then you hand it to them to edit how they want. If it’s succinct and spot-on, then all they have to do is add their letterhead, sign it, and send it back to you. If you have a campaign once every six months to do that, and you get as few as a handful of testimonial letters, then that’s five letters you didn’t have before you asked.
—Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer