I met with a client once that was interested in getting their primary sales vehicle tuned up. It was a letter they sent to prospects. Seems that it worked very well at one time and then stopped working.
Not being familiar with their product or reasons why people would consider doing business with them just from a letter, I had to ask a lot of questions. Questions like,
- Who gets the letter?
- What’s the demographic profile of those who acted after receiving the letter?
- What was their reasons for buying
- Have you ever sold to people who didn’t get a letter?
- Do you follow up on the phone with people that got the letter?
I was able to quickly determine something very important from these few questions. Almost every reason for doing business with my client was preceded by a need to do business with another business as well. So while he had been out prospecting with his letter, he was missing out on building a referral network with businesses who could be sending him prequalified leads.
The path of least resistance in sales is a referred prospect. In my client’s case, businesses in his referral network actually needed their prospect to buy his services before they could sell them theirs. He removed a big sales obstacle for them. But these businesses had grown accustomed to simply waiting for their prospects to deal with this obstacle on their own and then return. They were not empowered to speed up the process or assist in any way. But being able to refer prospects to my client made them empowered to not only help themselves but to also help the prospects by giving them a trusted means to address their immediate need (the obstacle) as well.
After a brief introduction and comparing of notes, each member of my client’s referral network will get monthly visits, phone calls, emails, mailed hand-written reminders and/or cookie platters reminding them that my client is ready and able e to help them close their sales more easily.
So, yes. I was being asked to fine-tune a sales letter, something I was happy to do. But the referral network I designed will create more activity than that letter could ever hope to.
Are you taking advantage of referral network opportunities? Do your prospects have an obstacle you could help them address with a referral? Sometimes referrals can come from anyone which is why business referral networks can be very valuable sources of new leads.
Share your referral stories in the comments.