Nov 18, 201309:37 AMLeader to Leader
with Terry Siebert
What’s the number one way to get new business?
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If you’re sure you’re connecting to your market and know what customers want and why they want it, if you know the emotional and logical impact of your service and can describe it in a compelling way, and if you routinely give the best advice to your customers on what to buy, then you have a great opportunity to leverage every interaction with your customers and build relationships that can spread to their friends, vendors, and neighbors. Do all these things. Not only will you stay in business, you’ll also smooth out the bumpy roads you encounter, especially during tougher, more competitive times.
Happy clients are a prerequisite to generating referrals. Stay in contact by inviting them to value-added occasions such as open houses, seminars, and webinars and by sending them notes, articles, and reports they can use to gather valuable information.
BMW, for example, invites its customers to driving schools and racetracks. Cool! Best yet, if you send your customers notes of appreciation, offer them recognition or encouragement, or even send a birthday card or thank-you note, you will really make them feel special. Do whatever you can to be genuinely interested in your customers and you will be implementing the best sales tool in existence.
Nothing abbreviates the sales cycle like a good referral. Nothing has a better payback — an almost 50% return to those companies that master it. Nothing beats this low-cost solution ... NOTHING! Why is so much effort put into finding leads via websites, email marketing, social networks, and advertising, often at the expense of taking care of customers and working from a database of referrals, those 40% to 50% who are presold even before your sales or marketing team arrives?
Even though we know our customers will listen to and trust a friend before they would believe a businessperson or a marketing piece, we continue to disregard the power of a referral. As a result, too many companies merely pay lip service to this important strategy and neglect to implement a complete referral system. I don’t know why more companies don’t employ this practice.