Monday, October 6
|How to get more referrals, attract new clients and decrease costs during a recession|
Guest column by Joanne Black
The economy is lagging and dragging. We've felt the effects in the United States. Now we're seeing global implications. So, how do you tackle economic uncertainty?
Cut advertising, travel, training, marketing and discretionary expense line items? Cut purchasing? Ouch! Then the pipeline starts to dry up and the anxiety level goes through the roof. Many people think that since there's nothing they can do, they should just do nothing. But "nothing" is futile thinking.
What If You Could Reach Your Market Without Incurring Any Hard Costs?
The only budget you need to worry about is your simply your time—your time to ask for referrals. You know about referrals. When a qualified prospect is referred to you, you get a new client typically 70-90% of the time. Additionally, you are pre-sold, and your selling time decreases while your credibility increases.
There is no other business-development process that can claim these results. And, in this economy, results are the only thing that matters. Achieve the results you need simply by implementing the following eight "killer" strategies.
Eight "Killer Steps" to Attracting New Business in a Lagging Economy
1. Broaden Your Perspective.
What business are you in? Redefine and reinvent yourself. Determine how you can create a leap in demand for your products and services. Build new alliances and consider alternate distribution channels. Don't go solo. It's important to assemble a group of advisors and get their input and creative ideas, and include people who have differing points of view from you.
2. Be Nimble and Innovative.
You'll never have all the facts. Go ahead; make quick decisions. Be fearless and make those tough choices. Create new uses for your products. Why not a new business model?
3. Dazzle Your Current Customers.
Your current customers need care and feeding. Don't ignore them at the expense of new business because they are your best source for new business.
4. Prioritize Wisely.
The most important activity for any salesperson is to do what's "closest to cash" the first thing every single day—whether it's following up with a prospect, writing a proposal or closing a deal.
5. Become an Expert.
Companies hire experts because they can't afford to make mistakes. Position your company as the expert with a specific product or in a specific market niche. Become an expert and people will be more likely to refer you.
6. Stay Connected.
If you want to get more referrals you have to network like crazy. Attend a minimum of one event a week. You never know who you will meet and what you will learn. Never let your network go down. Networking is an essential referral marketing activity. So go make connections and build your business. Talk to people and find out how you can help them. How is their business doing? Are they impacted by the lagging economy? How? Don't e-mail—call. You make connections by talking to people and by spending the time having a robust conversation.
7. Don't Cut Prices. Increase Value.
There's a lot of chatter about cutting prices in a lagging economy. Many small business owners think businesses are cutting back, so prospects don't have money for their projects. But, by cutting prices, you're cutting your profits even further. Instead, consider how to "get in and get started." Divide your offering into smaller chunks, get results and create traction. Or, give more value. When you offer high-value products and services, people will refer you and you will get more sales, even in a recession economy.
8. Commit to Building Your Referral Business.
Referrals are always terrific, but they mean even more in a lagging economy. Don't let the lagging economy trickle down on you. Take charge and make your phone ring again! Let your prospects know how much you care about them. Tell and show just how much you appreciate their business. Inform them that you'd like to help people just like them. And, don't forget to thank your prospects and clients for their referral.
Follow these tips and you will get more referrals. You will attract new business. You will get more clients. You will accelerate your sales. And, you will achieve higher results without increasing your cost of sales.
America's leading authority on referral selling and founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne Black helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners get more referrals and attract more business fast without increasing costs.