1. Ask Current Clients for Referrals
Is your business stagnant? Are you out of fresh ideas? Let’s explore… One of the first priorities – ask your current clients for referrals! It’s amazing how many business people miss that source of contacts. Some people feel it’s a bit pushy or not-so-nice to ask your current clients for referrals. Why not? Are you giving your current clients value? They must be happy with you or they would have taken their business elsewhere. Consider giving incentives for referrals. Perhaps a reduction in your rate, a book you believe would be of interest, or some promotional item. Always send a “thank you” note too. Send an email card on a birthday or a small gift to a special client.
Ask your current clients to write testimonials on your behalf. If they have trouble articulating their thoughts in writing, or they don’t have time, ask them to share how they feel about your service and then write it up for their approval. Whenever possible, use the full name of the person but do get their written permission first. It is much more believable than putting two initials or aliases after a testimonial. It’s terrific if it can be videotaped. More people will watch it than read it.
3. Short Satisfaction Survey
You can also ask them to fill out a short satisfaction survey after you’ve rendered your service, Make it simple, ask them to rate your service on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. Leave room for additional comments they might want to add. This will not only help you understand your clients, but will also identify areas that might require improvements. Have them email it to you or provide a stamped self-addressed envelope.
4. Give Presentations
If you give presentations, invite them to bring a guest. You might give the client free admission (or credit his/her account later) in exchange for referring a paying guest. The possibilities are out there. Grab one that feels right for you.
Personally, when I started networking I was a bit shy and awkward. I felt it was selling (not my favorite thing to do and something we don’t do now). Then I came from a different mind place. I had value to give someone. We would partner to help them make their business and professional life more successful.. So, I came from a place of joy. Working with a coach could be life changing. . I imagine you know by now you need to be a giver and good things will come back to you (power of attraction). I now want to go to networking activities. It’s a great opportunity to meet people you may have never touched before. So go to events in which you feel comfortable and enjoy. Get involved – be part of a committee. Remember six degrees of separation – even if the person you are speaking with doesn’t need your services, they know many people who would love to connect with you. Go for it! Let me know how it works for you.
There are many ways to grow your business. These are some basic ones. I certainly have more advanced strategies as well. What has worked for you? Please let me know below.
In The Referral of a Lifetime, Tim Templeton discusses thinking about who is your cheerleader. They are people who feel strongly about you and your products and can refer you at a moment’s notice. Templeton believes there are about 10-20% of the people in your circle you can categorize in this way. They are your “A list”. Your “B list” needs some education about you but can easily move to the “A” category. He said it’s about 17-20% of people in your circle. The “C list” are those you are not are sure about but want to continue connecting with them. Your “D list” are people you don’t want to work with and can delete from your circle.
I’ve fired clients – they either didn’t honor our agreed upon date/time to speak a couple of times and didn’t give 24 hours notification as instructed. Or, they didn’t do the work so I wouldn’t take their money. It was not the place they should be. They needed a consultant to do the work for them. There are certainly a lot of benefits of using a consultant but you need to make sure they are reaching your audience in your voice and relay your message appropriately.
Divide your database into A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s. How you will reach out to them would be different. Develop a marketing plan for each category and either use a CRM if at all possible for automatic emails to be generated or if necessary, send them yourself or have a V.A. (virtual assistant) help you.
How do you reach out to people in your database? Don’t miss this important piece in your business. It will increase revenue big time. In future blog posts, I will give you suggestions. Stay tuned and post your thoughts below please. I will respond.
Where do you start when calling a prospect?
The New Solution Selling book by Keith Eades suggests to really know a company, develop a list of the key people in the organization. This takes some research but is worth the effort. It allows you to call people by their full name and title.
Next write down what you identified as key things that could keep them up at night (ex: CEO – investors’ expectations are not realized; VP Sales/Marketing-they are not reaching revenue goals expected).
Do a chart for different industries with pain points the primary people could be experiencing. If one executive is having a problem, it usually affects others. Your chart should demonstrate this clearly (example: if the CEO finds revenue is decreasing, it effects the VP Finance and VP of Sales since goals probably will not be met). You stand out differently when armed with this information. It’s obvious, you have done your homework.
Make sure you are armed with a story that discusses how you helped another executive with the same issue and the results realized. If you do not have this reference, discuss the ROI when this is addressed. These stories should be concise and powerful. The prospect will either direct you to another person in the organization or might state he knows how to tackle this issue himself/herself now.
Accumulating this information beforehand, allows you to be armed for what might develop. It is worth the time and effort.
Have you ever tried anything like this? If not, what are your thoughts or questions when you read this blog? I would appreciate hearing from you.
One way to show how you excel and are different from everyone else is to have your customers write a testimonial.
Here’s one easy way to do that in three steps…
1- Before I met “X”, I ….
2- Then when I started working with “X”, I found
3- Now today, I …
It’s good to include an increase in return-on-investment if that is appropriate for your kind of business. Rather than a dollar amount, percentages are useful since each business will yield different revenues based on what they are selling.
If your customer delays in getting this to you (it might be your priority, but not high on their list), have them tell you their thoughts, write it for them, have them edit and approve it. If at all possible, ask if you can put their name and the company name/location on the testimonial. I suggest getting written email permission from them to use it for marketing purposes so it’s not later said it wasn’t granted.
It’s even more powerful if you can have a video having your client explain how you are different from the “other shirts on the rack”. That is, why go with you for their products or services.
Please write your thoughts and comments below. If desired, include what worked for you.