Many businesses take pride in their relationships and rely heavily on the use of referrals. And let’s face it, there is no better way to build business then to take advantage of quality referrals – you are given a “leg up” on the competition right from the start.
However, there are only so many referrals to be had, and if you wait for the next one to come through, even when asking for them, you might have a little bit of a hard time growing your business. There will come a time that you will need to be a little more proactive in your efforts to secure new leads.
Each of us has a different approach to generating sales. No specific way is best, and much of it depends upon an individuals communication skills and ability to interact with prospects. Some people are the quintessential outgoing sales type, while others are rather reserved and quiet – yet they both can still be extremely successful.
Regardless of the approach you take though, is the need to position your organization and yourself within the eyes of the prospect. Are you respected within your industry? Does your organization have a positive reputation? What differentiates you from your competition? Is there the perception that you and/or you company is a leader?
All of this is collectively the role of marketing. When done well – and on purpose, then the job of the sales department is that much easier. And don’t confuse advertising as marketing. Placing an occasional ad within the local newspaper or on the radio, or using banner ads on the internet can help attract interest, but unless they are part of an overall strategy, they will not help “close the sale.”
Successful organizations realize that they will need to commit themselves to communicating their unique message over time and through the use of many different tools. It could be networking within local groups, giving presentations or writing guest columns and blogs. Utilizing print to share their identity and drive people to the web for additional information to help substantiate the message. Video is becoming a strong tool to differentiate yourself from the competition, and regular use of e-mail is a tremendous way to stay in front of potential prospects. Keep in mind though, that all of these methods must be consistent in what you are presenting – the same message/identity/branding and unique characteristics that make you the respected leader within your market.
When done consistently, marketing can help drive results. It will help you gain sales, and through these additional sales you will also find more referrals as well – and isn’t that what we are all looking for?