Finding the best qualified leads from your company does not come from a cold contact situation but from building a strong referral business. The business of recommendations makes sense for most companies for many different reasons.
Referral marketing reduces your selling expenses and sales cycle. You already have clients; you should try to sell to them instead of expending all of your resources to finding new ones.
With less time calling cold prospects, your small company can focus on customers and their circle of influence. Improving existing relationships will better help you find ways to create new relationships.
Recommendations can build your level of satisfied customers by making sure they know you are a qualified service provider. The cycle self-perpetuates with more satisfied customers referring others to your company.
Referrals increase your selling revenue by bringing in new clients while still increasing sales with existing clients. The prospect of building the recommendation end of your business is so enticing because businesses use the wrong approach in building referrals and have limited success.
In business you need to measure the results to improve performance. This means you should set a clear goal with a time line on when you are going to accomplish those goals.
Conventional selling wisdom claims the best time to ask for the recommendation is immediately after the close, but this tactic is far too aggressive. Give your clients time to experience your service or product before asking for a recommendation.
Ask for the referral at close only if your client is already excited about your company. If you ask for a referral from a customer who is only satisfied with your service, you will likely deter them and make them think you are using them.
Remember that not all customers are referral candidates, realistically, only about 20 percent are. You want to ask them for a recommendation because you know they will endorse you well.
Give those clients extra service and follow-up support before asking for referrals. When you give willingly to your customers, they will return the favor.
Inform your referring clients of the type of customers you can help so you have the best opportunity to expand your client base. Providing a clear picture of the customer demographics will help your referral marketing.
Provide special rewards like discounts to your referring customers on a regular basis. This will give them more of an incentive to refer you to other businesses.
These tips are simple but when executed on a regular basis they can drive your referral business and build sales revenue. Remember it is the fundamentals that will make you most successful in the long run.
In today’s economy, big and small businesses are seeking every opportunity to win sales through competitive advantages. Smart owners of small businesses know a sales strategy can create a competitive advantage in the market place.
Selling to consumers consists of two main functions, namely tactics and strategy. Sales strategy is the planning of sales activities including methods of reaching clients, competitive differences, and resources available.
These tactics involve the day-to-day selling processes like prospecting, sales process, and follow-up. The tactics of selling are very important but equally important is the strategy of sales you use.
The development of any type of plan begins with research, which means you should put together a few focus groups. The insight gained for a competitive advantage comes from the marketplace not from your mind.
Look at your client and the outside influences on their company. Approach all three tiers to understand your customer.
Know what associations your target customer belongs to. To do this, contact the membership director and establish a relationship not for selling, but to understand their member’s needs.
Identify non-competitive suppliers who sell to your customer and learn their challenges and look for partnering solutions. Work directly with your customer and ask them what their needs are and if your business may offer a possible solution.
Jack R. Landry has worked in the field of business management for 20 years. He recommends using Hosted CRM for sales management software.
Jack R. Landry