As a smart, strategic sales professional, you know full well the value of building and maintaining a strong network of clients and referral sources. But you simply don’t have time to meet with them in person, right?
Wrong! There’s no doubt we’re all busy. Research from CSO Insights shows that while only 63% of sales reps made quota in 2012, revenue targets have risen by 16.4% this year. That’s a lot of pressure—and a lot of work. It’s also the reason you can’t afford to neglect your referral sources.
Referral selling is the most effective, most efficient prospecting strategy that exists. With referrals, you convert prospects into clients more than 50% of the time. Though this method won't work unless you make relationship-building your priority.
Sure, you’re pressed for time. But you’ve got to eat, right? So why not kill two birds with one stone?
Sort Out Your Magic Meeting Number
One of my clients instructs his sales reps to book 5 lunches and 4 breakfasts each week. That’s 9 meetings a week. It could be 10, but as he puts it, who wants to meet for breakfast on Monday morning?
9 meetings a week equals 36 meetings a month. Subtracting 4 weeks for vacation, travel, and personal time off, that’s 396 meetings a year!
Does my client’s sales team actually book nine meetings a week? Rarely. But to grow, you need a goal, so why not aim high?
Consider Your Referral Network Potential
When your goal is to bring new clients to your company, your most important sales activity is expanding your referral network. Even if you only book half the suggested number of meetings with referral sources (let’s call it 200 meetings for easy math), and if only half of those connections introduce you to potential clients, that’s 100 well qualified leads.
When you receive referral introductions to your decision-makers, you convert a minimum of 50% to clients. That means 50 new deals and access to those people’s networks!
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. When you work the referral process, it works for you.
Close The Deal- Follow Up
With this strategy, your biggest problem will be following up on all those referrals. And what a great problem to have!
Remember to follow up with your referral sources as well. They want to know they made good connections for you and that you appreciate their efforts.
9 meetings a week. Go for it!
This article was first published on No More Cold Calling
About the Author:
No More Cold Calling’s founder, Joanne Black, began actively consulting with clients in 1996 when she developed a system based on the premise that building relationships and getting referrals generate sales faster and more cost-effectively than cold-calling. Joanne’s sales, management and training experience spans decades and crosses multiple industries. Her hands-on and no-nonsense approach to the business of sales has made No More Cold Calling a respected and sought-after partner for clients in business-to-business sales.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.