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I’ve talked with several business owners in the past 12 months.  The majority of the businesses I work with have less than 50 employees.  Many of them fall into the category of 5 to 20 employees.  Many are expressing similiar concerns.  Their business has slowed.  Many companies are not investing because they don’t know what the future holds with this administration.  And even with all the assurances from our sqeaky cleann, above the board” Secretary of The Treasury, that our economy is getting much better, some are still skeptical.  Therefore, they’re playing their cards close to their vest, conserving their money, and aren’t investing in any new ventures until they have a better feeling about the economic future of our country.

So where can you find new business?  One of the most celebrated “direct-market copywriters” in this country is Dan Kennedy.  Dan’s made millions of dollars from writing the copy for direct-marketing campaigns.  (For those of you not familiar with Dan, one of the clients you might be familiar with is the Guther-Renky corporation.  You know them I’m sure, they’re the Proactive people using Jessica Simpson as a spokes person.)

Dan, along with many other famous direct-market guru’s will tell you that the “easiest sale you’ll ever make is to a current customer.  The “second easiest sale” you’ll ever make is to a Referral.  The major challenge most people have though is, “they don’t have a good system to generate referrals on a consistent basis.

What’s really interesting is that with the advent of all the new “electronic media gizmos and gadgets” the best marketing tool for you to progress through this time and continue to stay in business, and even prosper, is a good old referral.  But if you’re like most folks, you just don’t have a good system to generate a constant supply of quality referrals.  I’m going to give you a few hints about how to get “more and better referrals.”

First, you need to really understand what market you’re going after.  I remember working with a business owner.  He had an office supply company.  I asked him the question, “who’s an IDEAL client for you?”  His reply was, “anybody who can stand upright and fog a mirror.”   (Clearly he didn’t have a clue).   So my response to that was, “so it doesn’t matter if one person buys one red, number 2,  pencil and the next one buys $100,000.00 of office  furniture and equpiment.   You think of them equally and you would just as soon have one prospect as the other.

He screamed, “NO”!  I want more of the ones buying the “high-dollar” equipment.  So as he found out, and you’ll find out the same thing, you need to know the kinds of prospects you want to build your business with.  You need a clear description of the kinds of prospects you want plus a description of the kinds you don’t want.  You can then tell the people willing to refer you exactlly the kinds of prospects you want to be introduced to.

This is very important because  most people ask for referrals incorrectly.  The question most often asked is, “Who do you know who needs my service?”  This is tough for the person you’re asking  because they try to think of someone in the same position as themselves and it just doesn’t happen.

Have you ever asked someone to refer you and they reply, “Hey, I don’t mind referring to you.  Let me think about it and when I come up with some names I’ll call you.”  You then think to youself, “Man, I’m going to get loads and loads of referrals.”  But for some reason that person never calls you and you never bring the subject up again.  And then you say to yourself, “this referral stuff just doesn’t work for me like it does for some others.  After you think it over for some time you then just decide to go back to cold calling or get another job or just settle for what you can get.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you.  It’s easy to get referrals if you know how to position yourself and know the right words to say.

Soar With The Eagles

David L. Sims

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