Doug Evink, President & CEO of Tanis Aviation, and Doug Goldstrom, President of Sales for Special Services Corporation (SSC) shared their expertise on getting more referrals and testimonials in this month’s MasterClass session.

We quickly reprised Phase Three marketing activities, “the textbook version,” then we asked Doug and Doug about the real world.

They shared some excellent insights.

Third-Party Validation

Some customers who love your product still aren’t comfortable referring your company without the reassurance of a third-party validation of quality and consistency – like a five-star review on Zagat or Michelin for a restaurant.

  • Tanis Aircraft Products seeks (and is awarded) Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) from the FAA for their aircraft engine preheat products, even though the STC is not required in the U.S. (The preheat system is considered a minor modification.)
  • SSC has sought (and has been awarded) ARG/US Gold and Wyvern Registered Operator ratings, and has received the NBAA 50 Year Safety award.  These awards and ratings give them preferential positioning with charter brokers (a formalized referral system.)  Although individual customers might not be aware of ARG/US and Wyvern standards, they are reassured by the knowledge that their charter organzation has been evaluated by a respected third party.

Acquiring Testimonials

  • Yes, you do need to ask for them, but almost always get them from happy customers.
  • Customers concerned about publicity can use just a first name and location.
  • Sometimes it helps to have a third party (like your ABCI marketing consultant) call on your behalf regarding testimonials. We know the right questions to ask to get relevant ones, and it can be less awkward to tell your story to a third party.

Formal programs

  • Tanis uses a Bounty program that rewards A & P mechanics and MRO shops that “turn in” aircraft flying in the northern States and Canada without a preheat system. The referrer gets a coffee card, the referr-ee gets information about why preheat systems make flying safer and cut down on maintenance costs.
  • SSC uses Brokers, which are essentially a formalized referral system.  In either case, it helps to reward both parties (those giving the referral, as well as the subject of the referral.)
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