All businesses need leads!
How can you get new leads for your business? Two strategies to consider are networking and referral generation. The late Zig Ziglar said… “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want!”
Networking will save you time and will build your business. But the first rule of networking is to help the other person first. Many professionals pass information and share business contacts. Why shouldn’t salespeople refer customers to each other?
- Attorneys regularly refer potential clients to each other.
- Doctors refer patients to other physicians.
Networking Develops Reciprocal Relationships
Many professionals can also develop reciprocal relationships. Real estate agents know mortgage brokers, home repair experts, and attorneys so they can refer business and expand their network. Many salespeople (including me) belong to a lead-sharing club where salespeople with non-competing interests meet regularly to exchange leads. Help the members of your networking team before they help you! You will be amazed at the results.
Case Study: Medical Market
My sales career has always involved technology – primarily in the medical industry. When selling Practice Management Systems to veterinarians, I found that Blood Analyzer Representatives know the market and all the buyers. So, I formed a networking group in all my major cities. I would visit each representative, introduce them to my clients and keep them on an e-mail list. My goal was to get my networking partners leads as soon as possible. Over time, the flow of referrals (leads) grew, and it really provided a boost in business for everyone in the group.
Ask for Referrals!
Referral generation is the success habit of continually asking people for introductions. Ask your friends, family members, customers, and anyone else you come into contact with for referrals! If you are shy about this, think twice about your reluctance. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool in business. Ask the people you know to talk up your business and pass along the names of people who can benefit from your products and services.
Make your buyers aware that you prefer to do most of your business by word of Mouth. Ask people you deal with (and bump into) for referrals. Follow up every sale by producing a list so that buyers can write in the names of acquaintances, neighbors, associates and professional contacts. If you network and get referrals, then your business will grow!