Tag Archives: reference

Influitive – new spin on referrals and references

31 May

This spring, my dear colleague, Joanne Black, the author of No More Cold Calling, introduced me to Mark Organ of Influitive. Influitive has an interesting twist on the reputation-based referral process that Inquisix built our business on.

Inquisix was focused on helping fill the beginning of the funnel with qualified prospects who came to you, the sales person, based on a referral from someone the prospect trusted. At Inquisix, the network was the salesreps and executives who had high-value relationships with their customers and thus could refer them. Influitive looks at the sales cycle from the point of view of your happy reference customers. At Influitive, it’s these customers who expand their reputation network based on the products and solutions they embrace.

Influitive is in beta now and I encourage any VP of Sales or VP of Marketing who is using salesforce.com to take a look at them.

Happy Selling!

Talk Radio Event: Emergence of Reputation Networks : Sept 23, 2009

23 Aug

Jon Hansen hosts a Talk Radio Show, “PI Window on Business” that reaches an estimated 300,000 syndicated subscribers worldwide every month.  The PI Social Media Network is internationally recognized for its ability to identify, structure and disseminate the ideas and visions that are reshaping the emerging global enterprise.

JonHansen

He’s talking with Michael Kreppein, Chief Sales Officer of Inquisix, to examine more closely the emergence of “reputation networks” and their effects on personal branding in the Web 2.0 world. Reputation networks, like Inquisix, are gaining ground to combat the growing problem within the realms of social networking, where references or testimonials are bartered by an ever-expanding network of interloping relationships between name collectors versus relationship builders.

Please join us.

Wednesday September 23, 2009 at 12.30pm ET

Can I Date Your Sister?

10 Jul

Very nice article by Michael Katz about why asking your clients for referrals is a bad idea. His analogy is that asking customers for referrals is like someone asking you if they can date your sister. As I’ve written before, I agree about not asking your customers for referrals and instead ask them to be references.

Michael sends out an e-newsletter focused on writing better e-newsletters. You can read why Michael feels the same way I do about customers and referrals here. If you’d like to listen to the newsletter instead, click here.

And why a penguin below? Because Michael’s company is called Blue Penguin Development.

penguin_standing

Referrals Referrals Everywhere Referrals

6 Mar

Two blog postings on referrals hit my blog reader this week. Is this national referral week?

One from Paul McCord over at Sales and Sales Management Blog on developing a Referral-Based Mindset.

Another one came in from Clayton Shold’s Salesopedia where he posts a podcast from Joe Heller speaking on, “Why Referrals Work Best”

Well, of course referrals work best! They always have and always will. And in these days of caller-id and effective spam filters, it’s a wonder that any cold call or cold email lands a prospect.

But I wonder if customers are really the best place for getting referrals. They’re great at giving references (assuming you deserve them) but referrals? I’ve argued before that most customers don’t have the right DNA to actively generate referrals for you. And if you read/listen to these two new blog postings, you’ll quickly realize that generating customer-based referrals is A LOT of work. Maybe cold calling might be easier for some sales reps than these programs. Or maybe using customers for references instead of referrals is a more effective plan.

Use Customers for References Not Referrals

16 Feb

Two recent postings by Jan Visser and Paul McCord got me thinking about how to best use customers to increase your business. As the chart from eMarketer below says, business decisions are heavily influenced by colleagues’ word-of-mouth. Naturally, sales people try to get referrals from their customers to gain new ones. After all, they’re the best referral you can get! But as Paul pointed out, having your customer say, “Give so-and-so at this company a call and use my name” is often not much more than a cold call. Paul and I agree that it’s much better if they contact so-and-so and make the introduction directly. But they often won’t.

EmarketerChart

Why is this? Why won’t customers give you referrals? Or as Paul prefers to ask, “Why won’t customers make introductions for you?” There are several reasons but the primary one is that customers don’t really know how. It’s not in their DNA to voluntarily call someone up and tell them about your solution. However, they will respond to a request for feedback on your solution.

The chart says that the top influence on buying decisions is from colleagues. However, the chart does not suggest if the buyer received a call or made the call. I will bet that it’s the buyer making the call to their buddy, “Hey, do you have any thoughts on this product?” or “I have this problem, do you have any idea on how to solve it?” Since Customers often give references instead of making referrals, why not use them that way? If customers are uncomfortable making referrals/introductions then don’t use them that way. Get your referrals somewhere else and let your customer give the reference.

Expect your customers to receive calls on your behalf but not make them on your behalf.