Lead generation simply isn’t as hard or scary as it looks… Oftentimes, all we have to do is ask. The result? We find that people are eager and willing to help us because they believe in us personally and respect the quality of work that we do. Sharing some tips here from NYT Best Selling Author Dr. Ivan Misner.

How many times have friends, family, and associates said, “If there’s anything I can do to help you, let me know”? How often have you said, “Well, now that you mention it, there are a few things you could do.” If you’re like most people, you aren’t prepared to accept help the moment it’s offered. You let opportunity slip by because you haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of help you need. You haven’t made the connection between specific items or services you need and the people who can supply them. But when help is offered, it’s to your advantage to be prepared and to respond by stating a specific need.

Don’t let the next opportunity for others to help slip through your fingers! Being prepared with some simple requests can make a real difference in the success of your business. Systematic referral marketing requires that you determine, as precisely as possible, the type of help you want and need. There are many ways your sources can help you promote you and your business by generating referrals. Here are 12:

  1. Provide you with referrals
    The kind of support you most want from your contacts is referrals—the names of specific individuals who need your services. They can also give prospects your name and number. As the number of referrals you receive increases, so does your potential for increasing the percentage of your business generated through referrals.
  2. Introduce you to prospects
    Your contacts can help you build new relationships faster by introducing you in person to people they think need your services. Furthermore, they can provide you with key information about the prospect. They can also tell the prospect a few things about you, your business, how the two of you met, some of the things you and the prospect have in common, and the value of your services.
  3. Arrange a meeting on your behalf
    When your contacts tell you about a person you should meet, they can help you immensely by coordinating a meeting. They can help even more by setting up and attending the meeting.
  4. Invite you to attend events
    Workshops and seminars are opportunities for you to increase your skills, knowledge, visibility, and contacts. Members of groups you don’t belong to can invite you to their events and programs. This gives you an opportunity to meet prospective sources and clients that you wouldn’t normally be in contact with.
  5. Endorse your services
    By telling others what they’ve gained from using your services in presentations or informal conversations, your sources can encourage others to use your services.
  6. Display your literature and products in their offices and homes
    If these items are displayed well—such as on a counter or bulletin board in a waiting room—visitors will ask questions or read the information. Some may take your promotional materials and display them in other places, increasing your visibility.
  7. Distribute your information
    Your contacts can help you distribute marketing materials. For example, if they publish a newsletter, they can include a flier for you or your business in it.
  8. Make an announcement
    When attending meetings or speaking to groups, your contacts can increase your visibility by announcing an event you are involved in or a new service your business provides. They can also invite you to make an announcement.
  9. Nominate you for recognition and awards
    Business professionals and community members are often recognized for outstanding service to their profession or community. If you’ve donated time or materials to a worthy cause, your contacts can nominate you for relevant service awards. You increase your visibility both by serving and by receiving the award in a public expression of thanks. Your sources can pass the word of your recognition by word of mouth or in writing.
  10. Follow up with referrals they have given you
    Your sources can contact prospects they referred to you to see how things went after your first meeting, answer their questions or concerns, and reassure them that you can be trusted. They can also give you valuable feedback that can help you close a deal with the prospect.
  11. Serve as a sponsor
    Some of your sources may be willing to fund or sponsor a program or event you are hosting. They might let you use a meeting room, lend you equipment, authorize you to use their organization’s name, or donate money or other resources.
  12. Publish information for you
    Your contacts may be able to get information about you and your business printed in publications they subscribe to and in which they have some input or influence. For example, a source who belongs to an association that publishes a newsletter might help you get an article published or persuade the editor to run a story about you.

 Keep this list with you and add to it as other needs occur to you. Knowing how to match your needs with the right sources is the key to obtaining the type of help you need. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to spot opportunities and find sources of support. You’ll also be better prepared to respond when someone says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”

But remember—it’s a two-way street. These support activities are also things you can do to help your contacts promote their businesses and generate referrals. Helping your sources achieve their goals goes a long way toward building effective and rewarding relationships.

Finally, it’s good practice to develop a list of ways to reward referral sources for helping you. Once a referral has become a client, be sure to recognize and reward your source appropriately. Doing so encourages them to send you more referrals. Distinguish between tangible (e.g., cash) and intangible (e.g., a public “thank you”) rewards. Estimate the cost and set aside some money to pay for your recognition program. It’s important to find a unique, memorable way to say thank you and to encourage your colleagues and friends to keep sending you referrals that turn into business.

One small business owner I know sends a fine pen with a personal note of thanks to each colleague who makes a referral that leads to a sale. Another sends a gift basket and a thank you note. In either case, recognition is provided for the effort of passing the referral.

It may take a while, but if you have selected and trained your sources well and you use the system to its best advantage, you will speed up the process of turning the ever important referral into business.

Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author and Founder of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. His latest book, Truth or Delusion, can be viewed at www.TruthorDelusion.com. Dr. Misner is also the Senior Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company. He can be reached at misner@bni.com.

RainToday

 

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

*