Monday, May 11, 2015

Peer Referrals …. Do They Really Work?

I recently had someone ask me if I get any ROI from attending marketing events or online symposiums. The truth is ‘Yes’ – I do. While I know many people don’t think marketing events or peer referrals truly work, the bottom line is to understand that referrals aren’t a “sure” thing. You still have to work to obtain the business.

Some people say, “Sure, refer me to your source” only to be nice. This is a lead that you will pitch and pitch and will never come through.

Other people say, “Ok, make the introduction” only to see the cost of your services and run away- no matter how valued the relationship is. This lead was never secure to begin with.

Other people are thinkers. Other people are price comparers. And other people are actually interested. Like any type of business, referrals are simply enquires and you have to earn their business. Just because someone knows you and loves your services doesn’t mean the third party will buy on a handshake or virtual introduction.

So, how do you close a referral lead? Simple – just follow these 3 steps.

First, reward those who send you business. If the referring party has a financially vested interest, he or she will help to follow up and close the leads they do send over. Keep in mind, however, that only about 20% of all leads will actually close.

Second, offer a discounted or rewards program to those who have been referred to you. Even with praise and amazing ratings, an incentive-based offer to try your services for a limited time works better than sending over a large contract or long-term service obligation.

Finally, don’t be aggressive. Stop with the daily “follow up” phone calls, sales-ad emails (sent twice a week), and Facebook ‘Likes’. If a potential lead is annoyed with a pushy sales process right off of the bat, he or she will be skeptical of your services. I know it is hard- but be conservative with your follow up efforts.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

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