Promotional product sales professionals who put these strategies into practice are sure to open doors to new clients.
1. Make Yourself Refer-Worthy: Efforts to win referrals will be wasted unless you first make yourself a sales professional worthy of being referred. This means being responsive and reliable – doing what you say you’re going to do. It means providing consultative service that leads to promotional solutions that are specially tailored to address each client’s goals and challenges. It includes asking clients how you can serve them better and putting reasonable suggestions into practice. Kathy Whitburn often sees the referral-generating results of taking this client-centric approach. “My greatest resource in converting is cultivating solid relationships, strong industry knowledge and becoming a great team asset even though I’m not directly on my clients’ payrolls,” says Whitburn, strategic marketing consultant at American Solutions For Business (asi/120075).
2. Give Referrals: The saying “give in order to receive” rings true when it comes to referrals. If you connect satisfied clients with new opportunities for their business, they will be more inclined to return the favor.
3. Network Through Your Local Chamber: “I am very active in the Chamber of Commerce,” says Danette Gossett, owner of Gossett Marketing (asi/212200). “When I hear about a new company joining or growing or just getting on my radar, I inquire with fellow chamber members to see who knows who and ask for an introduction. A warm referral is way more effective than a cold call, and has resulted in some great long-term clients.”
4. Stay Current On Client Initiatives: Often, there are multiple – even many – buyers at a company or organization. This is especially true at larger corporations – the kind of clients who Gossett often works with. As such, she’s sure to keep abreast of new initiatives at the companies, and to ask current buyers there if they can refer her to people in other departments who are handling upcoming campaigns. Gossett’s service record, good relationships with buyers and diligent initiative-monitoring has led to timely referrals that have helped her acquire new clients.
5. Express Gratitude: Expressing sincere appreciation for a referral is not just polite; the positive reinforcement is an excellent mechanism for encouraging the referrer to refer you again while strengthening your relationship with the individual. “I always personally contact the person who referred me to say thank you,” says Whitburn. “Whether by phone, email or postal mail, I tell them how excited I was, how they really made my day and how honored I am that they felt I warranted receiving a referral from them.”
Check Out this video from Coach Ahalya of Oli Leadership for tips on building creditability – something that will come in handy when meeting prospects you’ve been referred to.