You wouldn’t want to go to a party where you didn’t know anyone. If you were choosing a restaurant, you might be more inclined to eat somewhere your friends recommended.
And that’s how you should think about getting marketing referrals: it’s better to go with a lead who was referred to you by a colleague or existing client than one that you’re basically cold-calling.
Leads that come from referrals are often the easiest to close, since they’re reliable and don’t require you to go in blind.
Here are a few tips on how to focus your inbound marketing strategy on getting strong referrals:
- Tell your company’s story. You might do this though a video on YouTube or a post on your blog. But people want to hear stories, simple, informative ones they can share. Passing on information about your business in the form of a story makes it easy for people to understand and digest, and they’ll be more likely to share your story with others.
- Even if you’ve made a sales referral connection over the phone or in person, use social media to make it stronger. You customers will get reminders about what you do from your posts, and be inclined to share your content.
- And the best way to do that is to make sure your company stands out. Find out what differentiates you from your competitors and play that up. Again, this comes back to storytelling. Customers will search your product out early on, and if you’re telling a good story, they’ll want to share it with the world. A good thing about this strategy is that it connects with the inbound marketing ideal of turning customers into promoters.
- Just ask. It may seem simple, but not everyone knows how to ask or when to ask for a marketing referral. It’s a good idea to ask soon after you’ve signed someone as a client. You don’t need them to write you a letter of recommendation. You just need the name and contact information of someone they know who they think can benefit from what you do. People want to give referrals. It shows them they’ve made the right decision.
- Once you’ve gotten a referral, don’t forget to follow up. The person your new client referred you to might not ready to become a client themselves. So stay in contact, perhaps by passing on useful content. The storytelling method we mentioned above lives on.
“What’s better, a referral or a lead?” Entrepreneur.com asked once. “A referral is better than a lead because you can use the name of the referral source to open the door. What more could you hope for?”
There is more. Once you get the referral you’ll need to arrange a meeting and make the sale. It’s easier than a cold call, but still has its challenges. The stronger your relationship with your referrer, the better chance you have at landing a new client.
If you’re searching for ways to improve your sales team, IQnection can help. We offer a free online manual that lists seven steps to a more effective sales team, including ways to tailor your content to your prospects based on their needs.
Getting referrals might be a challenge, but if you market your company the right way, it’s the difference between being at dinner with strangers and being at dinner with friends.