By Evan Vitale
In our previous blog post, we talk about the differences between a “lead” and a “referral.”
Remember, a lead is cold. The only thing you have is a name and contact information. You have no idea if the individual is interested in your products or services, or even if they have a need. It’s cold. Some sales people collect hundreds of leads in hopes they can turn one into a sale.
Now, let’s talk about referrals.
A referral is much better than a lead. Referrals come from people you know and they can make recommendations about you, your company and your products and services. For example, a business associate might tell you they know of so-and-so who needs your help. Once you have obtained the contact information, you can call that potential client/customer and tell them that you were “introduced to them by your business associate and that you understand you might be able to help them.”
Referrals are warm because of the personal connection.
How do you get more referrals? Ask for them!
Here are some tips on how to earn more referrals:
- Attend more networking events and let people know what kind of customer/client is right for your business. BNI (Business Networking International) uses this model extremely well. As a member, you meet once a week to “ask” for specific referrals or introductions to someone. Then, other members in the group (hopefully) can provide you with a referral.
- Talk to your vendors. They meet and talk to their clients and customers every day and they might know of someone who needs your service or products.
- Talk to your current customers. While they may not direct you to one of their competitors, they might have some referrals from another business-type or industry that you can help.
Also keep in mind that referrals are a two-way street. Yes, you want more referrals and introductions, but you’ll receive more by giving more. It’s called a “givers’ gain” philosophy of the more referrals you give, the more you’ll receive in return.