Tag Archives: referral

When a referral is not a referral

28 Oct

I read a great blog post this morning by Diane Helbig on the SalesDog blog entitled, “Don’t Use My Name!

She writes about people who give out someone else’s contact information and tell you to call them but, “…don’t use my name!”  And they consider it a referral.  That’s not a referral, that’s an invitation to start a cold call.

What’s a true referral?  When the person making the referral makes the introduction on your behalf.

You calling someone and saying, “So-and-so gave me your name and told me to call you.” is not a true referral.  And Diane’s example is nothing like a referral. I agree!

Diane thinks this behavior is worse than a cold call because it damages the reputation of the person giving out the contact information and the person acting on that information.

Then she goes on to discuss what quality referrals really mean.

Please go read her article in full!

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Referral Expo 2008 – Register for Free NOW

1 Oct

There’s a little more than one week left to take advantage of the Referral Expo 2008. We’re in the last stretch of 2008: Gain insight, expertise, new ideas, and power yourself through this these challenging economic times.

The Referral Expo is a virtual event, conducted over the phone. It’s free to attend, but registration is limited:

  • Breathe new life into your business
  • Generate more referrals
  • Find better quality referrals

Get new, innovative ideas! Bolster yourself against the economy. The Referral Expo 2008: Register now.

In times like these, building relationships and creating referrals are the keys to success. By attending this virtual expo, you’ll get loads of innovative ideas and strategies for generating referrals – all from the comfort of your home or office.

The Referral Expo 2008
Tap into 15 world-class marketing experts as they share their best referral strategies. I’m honored to be included in the team presenting at this year’s Referral Expo.

What: Referral Expo 2008
When: Now through October 10th

  • Each 1-hour presentation will be conducted over the phone on successive weekday evenings.
  • Monday – Friday at 5:00pm Pacific / 6:00pm Mountain / 7:00pm Central / 8:00pm Eastern

Cost: FREE
Register now!

See you there!

Reputation Matters

13 Jun

I have over 1,500 names of business contacts in my Outlook folder. But there’s only about 100 business people that I know well enough to accept a referral from me. I have earned the right to make referrals to these busy people because of my prior interactions with them. So when I make a referral to them for you, it’s because I value my relationship with them and not necessarily because I’m doing you a favor. And I expect you to treat that referral like gold because how you handle the referral is a reflection on me.

Rick Roberge hammered this very issue home in his recent blog posting, “Why am I calling?” A guy could have received a great referral from Rick to one of Rick’s trusted contacts but that guy’s reputation with Rick earned him a “No”. A well-deserved “No” in my opinion. And I just loved Rick’s description of this guy in the second to last paragraph! A great lesson and one that made me laugh.

Recession Proof Marketing

13 Mar

After reading Joanne’s post yesterday about recession proof selling, I saw this posting about recession proof marketing. Uh oh, it looks like almost everyone is agreeing we’re headed into a recession. (Unless you’re part of the tech industry in Boston, but I digress.)

Brian and Joanne both agree that one of the key areas to focus when economic times are tough is lead generation. Joanne gives her 5 tips for salespeople to improve lead generation through referrals. Brian tells marketers to, “…direct their budgets away from traditional awareness building campaigns that quickly eat up budget and instead expand and optimize lead generation programs that bring measurable results.” And he points to an IDC study that says that 80% of marketing expenditures on lead generation and collateral are wasted because the leads are ignored by sales people.

The Marketing department in a recession needs to focus on those tasks that generate valuable leads for the sales reps. So valuable that these leads are equal in value to the sales rep’s own lead generation through referrals.

Actually, marketing’s lead generation programs should be doing that even when times are booming!

Sleep "Marketing"

7 Mar

Is worrying about sales keeping you awake at night? Don’t sleep walk, instead get a good night sleep and market while you’re catching up on those zzz’s. So says business coach C.J. Hayden on the EyesOnSales blog. While she’s suggesting how independent consultants market while they sleep, her tips are applicable to sales reps & business owners, too.

sleepingsheep

What I love is that she talks about getting referrals from people OTHER than clients. Everyone (see my last blog post) talks about how important it is to get client referrals.

But C.J. says, “Instead of spending all your time trying to build relationships directly with prospective clients, focus some of your efforts on getting to know people who could be reliable referral sources. Anyone who shares your target market is a candidate to refer clients to you……. The best potential referral sources are those whose services are complementary but not competitive.”

I agree!

Amen, C.J. and pleasant dreams!

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.

Pay for Relationships?

29 Feb

With the rise of various social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, the promise of easy and immediate connections seems realized. I connect to you, you connect to them and since I can see that connection, I want to get connected to them, too. Bingo, I have a prospect! The problem is that it’s too easy and therefore not really that valuable for business networking.

The names of my contacts are not valuable – there a lots of places where someone else can find those names – JigSaw, LinkedIn, Hoovers, Spoke, the Yellow Pages, industry trade organizations to name a few. What’s valuable is my relationship to them. I’ve earned that relationship and it’s valuable.

Jay Deragon, in his The Relationship Economy blog, posted recently about whether Relationships are for $ale. He argues that, “You don’t sell relationships you build and earn them.” I’d suggest that you can’t buy relationships, either. Certainly not valuable ones.

Jay continues to say, “Sales techniques have changed over time to meet the ever increasing demands from informed customers. It has become imperative in today’s business environment to gain the trust of prospects and customers by first focusing on building relationships based on common affinities and objectives.”

And thus easy access to names can’t be the easy way to generate sales.

So if that’s not the easy way, then what is? As Jay points out, “People aren’t for sale (although many act as if they are) and neither are their relationships.” Valuable relationships are not put up on the web for all to see. Rather, they’re kept secure and hidden behind walls and only let out when there’s a very good reason.

What’s a good reason to let a valuable relationship be known? When you meet another sales rep you believe can add value to your customer. And by adding value to your customer, you’ve added value and trust to your relationship with that customer. You won’t sell that relationship because if your customer finds out, your trust is lost. But you have built a new relationship with that sales rep that translates to them introducing you to one of their customers. And then they gain value, too.

That’s what Inquisix is all about – we keep your RELATIONSHIP with contacts safe and hidden while introducing you to like-minded sales people who understand that relationships are earned, not sold or bought. Who agrees with me?

Happy Selling!

ABN = Always Be Networking

27 Feb

Note from the Editor – I saw Scott Ginsberg (aka the NameTagGuy) write a post over at RainToday and enjoyed it so much that I followed his suggestion #14 and asked him if Inquisix could re-post his entire article here. The content is Scott’s but the links are from Inquisix. Those of you who are familiar with Glengarry Glen Ross and Alec Baldwin’s ABC rule – Always Be Closing, will find our title familiar!

The Federal Bureau of Labor published a study a few years back that showed 70% of all new business comes from some form of networking. What other motivation do you need to start?

Below are fifty thoughts to help you on your way. Before you read on, remember: if you think you’re poor at networking, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s not a skill we are born with but one we have to learn.

1. Come to every networking event with three great questions ready to go. Be sure they begin with, “What’s the one thing?” “What’s your favorite?” and “What was the best part about?”

2. No matter where you go – the mall, church, out to dinner, the gym – have at least five business cards with you.

3. Be able to give an unforgettable personal introduction in 10 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds.

4. When someone on the phone says, “May I ask who’s calling?” get excited. Say something unique that makes that person say, “Um, okay…please hold.” Be unexpected. Be cool. Be memorable.

5. Get Google alerts on yourself, your company, your area of expertise and your competition. If you don’t know what a Google alert is, just Google it.

6. Networking isn’t selling, marketing or cold calling. It’s the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. Don’t mix these things up.

7. The most important four letters in the word “networking” are w-o-r-k, because that’s exactly what it takes.

8. If you give your business card to somebody and they don’t reply, “Hey, cool card!” get a new card.

9. When attending networking events, come early. Check out the nametags. See if you know anybody, or find people you’d like to meet.

10. Sit in the back so you can scan the room for specific people you’d like to connect with.

11. Email articles of interest, links or other cool stuff of value, (not spam), to people you’ve met.

12. Publish a newsletter or ezine. Interview people from your network and feature them as experts. They will take ownership of their inclusion and spread that publication to everyone they know.

13. Spend one hour a week reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. If you don’t know what a blog is, you’re in trouble.

14. When you read an article you like, email the author. Tell him what you liked about it and introduce yourself. He’ll usually write back.

15. Have an awesome email signature that gives people a reason to click over to your website. Just be careful not to have too much information included.

16. Get involved with social networking sites like LinkedIn, MySpace and Squidoo.

17. Remember that networking doesn’t have to be in person. The Internet is a great place to connect with people just like you! It’s called Internetworking. (Yep, I made that word up.)

18. Make your own words up. It’s really fun.

19. Have business lunches at least once a week.

20. Attend local events once a month.

21. Figure out where your target market hangs out (online and offline). Then hang out there.

22. Create your own regular “business hangout,” like a copy or coffee shop where you can regularly be found working, networking, reading or connecting with other professionals.

23. Talk to everybody. Don’t sell them; don’t probe them, just make friends. Make friends with everybody. Because people buy people first.

24. Take volunteer positions with organizations that are relevant to your industry. Be a visible leader to whom others can come to for help.

25. Every time you meet someone, write the letters H-I-C-H on their business card: how I can help. Then think of five ways to do so.

26. Go to Borders and spend one day a month reading books on networking, interpersonal communication and marketing. I highly recommend The Power of Approachability and How to be That Guy. (I hear the author is super cool.)

27. Publish articles or a blog or both based around your expertise. Use titles such as “Top Ten Ways,” “Essential Elements” and “Success Secrets,” that grab the reader’s attention. Publish them on http://www.blogger.com and http://www.ezinearticles.com.

28. Be funny, but don’t tell jokes.

29. Discover the CPI (Common Point of Interest) with everyone you meet.

30. Carry blank business cards with you in case someone forgot theirs. They’ll thank you.

31. Never leave the house without a pen and paper. Sounds dumb, right? It isn’t. It’s genius. Nobody keeps napkins with scribblings on them.

32. Every week, introduce two people you know who need to know each other.

33. Wear your nametag above your breastbone and make sure it’s visible from 10 feet away. Nobody cares what side of your chest it’s on. Just make it big. And if you don’t like wearing nametags, then you probably don’t like people knowing who you are, either.

34. It’s not who you know – it’s who knows you.

35. People will like you the minute they figure out how they are like you.

36. Fear not to entertain strangers for by so doing some may have entertained angels unaware. (Hebrews, 13:2)

37. If you don’t have http://www.yourname.com, get it. It’s ten bucks.

38. Find local professionals with whom you share common interests, customers, ideas and products. Introduce yourself to them, get together, share ideas and find ways to help each other.

39. Form a mastermind group. No more than four people. Meet regularly to set goals, keep each other accountable and brainstorm.

40. Also, set your own networking goals each month for:

* Events to attend

* People to meet

* Emails to write

* Calls to make

* Articles/physical mail to send

41. Go onto Google and type in “articles on networking.” Read on!

42. Speaking of Google, Google yourself regularly. Find out what people are saying about you. If you don’t show up, you’re in trouble.

43. If you think you don’t need to network, you are right. You don’t need to network: you must network!

44. Stop calling it networking. Ignore the title of this article. Networking – as a word – is tired and old and cliché and it makes people think you’re throwing around a bunch of cards trying to sell, sell, sell. No. All you’re doing is making friends. Not schmoozing, mingling or any of those stupid catch phrases. You’re making friends. That’s it. Friends. Make them every day.

45. If you think you are poor at networking, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But also remember that anyone can develop their networking skills. That’s right, skills. Because it’s not something you’re born with or just plain “good at.” Anyone can do it effectively. You simply need:

* To develop the attitude of approachability

* To read books on the subject

* To practice

46. When strangers ask, “How are you?” don’t say fine. You’re not fine. Nobody’s fine. Give a real answer that’s memorable and magnetic. I suggest, “Business is kicking ass!” or “Everything is beautiful!”

47. When someone asks where you’re from, don’t just say “Austin.” Use the H.O.T technique: “Oh, I’m from Austin, home of the best college football team in the country.” Get creative. Get unique. Watch what happens.

48. Put your person before your profession. Your personality before your position. Your individual before your industry.

49. Don’t be different – be unique. Don’t be friendly – be approachable. And don’t be memorable – be unforgettable.

50. Think about the last five “luckiest” business contacts you encountered. Figure out what you did right, realize that there is no such thing as luck, then repeat as often as possible.

About the author – Scott Ginsberg, aka “The Nametag Guy,” is the author of seven books and writes the #39th most popular marketing blog in the world. He is the creator of NametagTV, an Online Training Network that teaches businesspeople about approachability. For more info about books, speeches, customized online training programs or to Rent Scott’s Brain, call 314/256-1800 or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

First Review of the Inquisix Referral Exchange

21 Feb

Jan Visser over at SalesTeamTools has written the Jan Visser has written the first review of Inquisix: Do You Need Sales Leads Or Real Introductions To Your Ideal Prospects? I was a bit nervous about the review because we just started beta and we’re constantly updating the site. But as I hoped (and sort of expected, given Jan’s successful sales career), he immediately understood the value of the referrals and introductions Inquisix offers and how important it is that we protect the confidentiality of your contacts.

If you’re already an Inquisix member, please comment on his review.

If you’re not yet an Inquisix member, please read his review and then come join us!

Either way, if you have not already visited his site, you should.

Happy Selling!

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.