If you’re new at building sales through business referrals or would like to transition from making cold calls (or other sales methods), then read on. The whole mentality of a referral or introductive based business is totally different from any other way of selling for most. It breaks down most barriers of the selling process, in fact, it changes from you selling to your customers to them wanting to buy from you. A whole different level arises, loyalty is now present, it becomes more of a “business friendship” rather than a long distance non-relationship.
It’s not fun or productive contacting someone that you don’t know, trying to get to the decision maker, leaving voice messages, sending an email that may be picked up by a spam filter, etc, etc. A sales person’s biggest asset is time. Not to sound like a nagging sales manager here, but how are you spending your time? If you are going to build long term relationships, and a long term sales career, and my favorite… having fun (well OK making money too), you have to think of your time as a long term, day by day investment of time.
OK how do I build a referral based business you ask? Well, there several ways to approach it. We need to adjust our way of thinking and find alike individuals (sales buddies) to partner with. Let’s say you’re in the real-estate sales, you could network (partner) with mortgage companies/brokers, builders, etc. It’s good to be a compliment by adding value and able to provide referrals to other sales people in a similar industry. Although, you don’t have to be in the same industry, you can partner with pretty much any sales person. Most sales people have customers that could easily have a need for what you sell.
Another way is to use networking groups, chambers of commerce, specialty type business meetings and much more. By spending a short amount of time with other sales people you can uncover many things that you would have never known. You have to remember these people are there for the same reason as you are, to build business! You don’t have to try and sell them on anything. You are there to SHARE referrals, and HELP each other. Once you have exchanged business cards and information you have a new business buddy and so do they. This is an invaluable relationship! You are making a true investment of your time here.
Just like money, you don’t want to make a deposit in the bank and wait! You need to follow up with a phone call and or email AND a hand written card. This person is now part of your sales team, just as you are for them! Keep track of your new business buddy and treat them like gold. Remember this is a 2-way street, always be thinking of how to get them referrals. This is a business friendship and when a referral is given to you and visa-versa the highest respect should be for both of you and your referrals. Written by Tim Frisch – GettheSale.com