Saturday, November 30, 2013

Create Your Own Referral System

Start getting quality referrals using these tips (in no particular order): Create a referral program with complimentary service providers to exchange referrals. Be sure you only include providers in this network that you'd be comfortable recommending to your best client or best friend. Recognize and thank your referral sources. This could be a simple phone call, email, or-even better a handwritten note. The important thing is to express your appreciation.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Never Turn Down A Speaking Engagement

Speaking engagements are scary ... and fruitful. A new business meeting is a one-on-one opportunity. Speaking engagements are one-to-many, a highly efficient way to get people to learn about your value. Take advantage of the opportunity every time someone asks you to speak in front of a group. The audience sees how you think. If they like what they hear, even if they don't need you now, maybe they will someday, or know someone who does. And never use a speaking engagement to sell your firm or services -- only your way of thinking and unique approach to a problem.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Why You Should Join Your Chamber of Commerce

The local Chamber of Commerce is an amazingly good resource for salespeople. Chambers of Commerce exist to help local businesses prosper, and for a modest annual fee they'll do everything in their power to help you sell. It's usually possible to attend Chamber events and so on without becoming a member, but the benefits of membership are so great that it's well worth the fee to go ahead and sign up.

Member benefits vary from Chamber to Chamber, but one often-overlooked universal benefit is the Chamber directory. All Chamber members are listed in an annually updated directory that's provided to both members and non-members for free. The benefits here are twofold. First, your listing in the directory means that other Chamber members who need your type of product are likely to reach out to you before trying non-member businesses in your industry. That means that you can hope for some good windfall prospects to come your way just from having your name in the directory. And second, that directory is a wonderful source of leads. At a minimum, the directory provides each member's contact information and industry. Some directories also provide details such as their company size and how long they've been in business. The directory is essentially a perfect, free lead list for you with a built-in opener... you can approach these leads with the information that, like them, you are a member of the local Chamber.

Chamber events are also terrific networking opportunities. The Chamber of Commerce will usually have regularly scheduled “mixers” in which members can meet and greet each other. You can make the most of these opportunities by volunteering to speak at such a mixer. Most Chamber members are local small business owners who are likely interested in learning more about sales techniques. Who better than you to teach them? If you enjoy writing you can also volunteer to contribute articles to the Chamber newsletter. Many Chambers of Commerce also participate in outside events, such as local charities and business-related city events – these are particularly useful for B2C salespeople. The Chamber newsletter will mention upcoming events, which makes it easy for you to decide which ones to attend.

Before you join the Chamber, ask your sales manager if you can offer a discount or other special deal for Chamber members. You may be able to advertise this promotion in the Chamber directory or newsletter; if not, at least write up a flyer and distribute it at those mixers. You can also set aside the occasional day to call on members in person and see if you can kick-start some sales.

It's likely that salespeople from other companies will also join the Chamber of Commerce. If you can track down a few other salespeople from non-competing businesses, you have the start of a great referral group. You and the other salespeople can exchange leads and generally help each other out. And Chamber events allow you to keep an eye on those salespeople who are direct competitors!

Finding your local Chamber of Commerce shouldn't be difficult. Fire up your computer browser and search for 'chamber of commerce' using your favorite search engine. Salespeople in the big city may have several Chambers in the area. In that case, try dropping by a mixer or two and take a look at their directories to see which one would be the best fit for you.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Electronic Database: A Handy Resource

It’s important to get email addresses from all your clients, with their permission to accept your information from time-to-time. Send them tips and solutions up to twice per month. The info can be a product or service you wish to offer, or totally unrelated. This serves both to keep your name in front of them and also to maintain a “trusted adviser” status.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Make Your Business Referral Ready

What’s the highest compliment and vote of confidence we can receive? It’s a referral from someone we know to do business with someone they know. Not only is it a compliment, it’s one of the best ways to grow our businesses, increase our income and become known as an expert in our chosen field.

People love to share stories of positive business experiences and services with the people they know in order to give them a positive experience as well. How will you hold up your end of the bargain? Will you shine when you receive a referral? It’s important to make sure you’re organized with simple systems in place to make the process of creating a new client relationship seamless.

These suggestions will provide a great foundation to create your own systems.

Follow up fast:

Create a golden rule for follow-up time for a referral after receiving it. Once someone sends business your way, you don’t want to lose it before you gain it by letting too much time pass before acting on it. A long lag time could look like you aren’t interested or you are too busy to take on new business. A good rule of thumb is to contact your new lead within 24 hours.

Capture contact info:

Create a basic intake form to capture important information while speaking with your new contact. In today’s busy world, a vital thing you need to know is your client’s preferred method of contact. Do they want a call, an email, a Facebook message or a text to set up an appointment or receive a reminder? I’m still a bit surprised that most of my business contact is now through email or Facebook and I’m receiving more and more texts from clients while phone calls are dwindling.

Exceed expectations:

You have received business on a silver platter at no cost to you. Now is your chance to shine and prove why you were referral-worthy. Here are a few easy ways to make yourself stand out like the superstar you are.

Treat your clients like gold. Clients can easily work with someone else at any time. Besides doing great work, what will make them want to stay in a relationship with you? Standing out doesn’t mean spending a bunch of money, it means showing a genuine interest in another person. If a client is working with you on something challenging, send them an encouragement card. If you have tulips blooming in your yard, bring your client a little bouquet at your next meeting. Or, leave a few chocolates on their desk (my favorite) with a friendly note. All small efforts will say big things.

Follow through. Business doesn’t end because your transaction ends. Let your client know that you’ll check in at a specific time in the future to see how things are going and then do it. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks by adding a reminder to your calendar.

Send thank you notes:

Send a thank you card when you get business. As soon as you’ve worked with your new client, take a few minutes to write a thank you note. Make it easy for yourself by keeping note cards and stamps on hand at all times. A thank you note alone will make you stand out in the crowd.

Send a thank you note even when you don’t get business. It really doesn’t matter why someone chooses not to work with you. What will matter is the positive impression you will leave for being gracious, which may still lead to business down the road.

Send a thank you note for the referral. It really surprises me when a professional doesn’t show their appreciation to someone who proved to be a cheerleader for their services and increased their revenue. A gift card is an added bonus if you decide to go the extra mile.

Track referral sources:

Create a simple system to track where your business is coming from and how much revenue is being generated. Pay close attention to who is sending business your way. These are the people who are spreading the word about you, they are invaluable to you and they should be acknowledged for helping your business flourish.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Social Media For Lead Generation

Social media marketers know that a robust social media presence can have a very real impact on a business. But it doesn’t stop with having thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Proper social media engagement can generate leads for all types of businesses by driving high value traffic to your site and encouraging those visitors to stay, return, and share what they found. There are lots of reasons to utilize social media for your lead generation goals but tops among them is that social media is so immense.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trade Shows Are a Great Way to Get Leads

Trade shows are a superb way to promote your business and generate leads. If you choose the correct trade shows, many of the people there will be prospects that you can engage with and turn into customers. Some types of trade shows that are a wonderful place to find leads include: Local business expos Chamber of commerce shows School business expos Industry trade shows To generate leads at trade shows you will need to be really prepared and have thought a lot about your techniques. You will need to have experts on your stand that are familiar with your products and have outstanding communication skills. You also need to have a way of qualifying leads so you don’t waste time and money chasing leads that only visited your booth for your freebies.