And in the process create a torrent of low cost / no cost leads through the front door of your business!
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could acquire a brand new sales force for your business?
Now I’m not just talking about one or two new people, I’m talking about tens, hundreds or even thousands of new sales people all out there in the market place spreading the word and selling you and your business. An entire army of raving fans who have all bought into you and your business and the difference you make in the market place.
What impact would this new sales force have on the growth of your business? Could this be the break through you’re looking for in order to hit double or even triple digit growth this year?
A pipe dream or a reality?
Well actually it could be a reality – I’ve seen it done many times with clients I consult and coach with. Let me share with you how.
First, it requires you to take a leap of faith for a moment and think differently about your business. You’ve spent a great deal of time, effort and money in attracting and building the loyalty from your existing customers, right?
Those customers have bought you – they’ve bought your business brand and as long as you’re delivering on the promise and engaging in the appropriate retention strategies, they’ll remain loyal to you forever! (Retention strategies are a whole new conversation, which we’ll talk about some other time).
These loyal customers are the ‘ideal profile’ of customer for your business. They:
STAY! SAY! And PAY!
- Stay for as long as possible
- Say great things about you
- Pay on time...every time!
Now it’s the 'SAY great things' part that I want to talk with you about here. Because in their saying great things about you, you can create a torrent of referrals through the front door of your business!
By just being pro-active vs re-active, by thinking about this strategy from a different perspective, you can turn your customers into your silent sales force!
Did you know they are already on board?
Think about it for a moment. They’ve already bought into you and your business, they’re passionate about what you do and how you do it, they’re loyal, talk about you and your business with enthusiasm, and understand your products and services probably better than some of your own people because they’re actually using them!
WOW! Aren’t these the traits you’d look for in recruiting a new sales person?
And perhaps the sting in the tail: who do you think these ‘ideal profile’ customers shake and move with both professionally and personally? Yes! Other like-minded individuals similar to them, and most importantly for you: similar to the profile of customer you want to attract to your business and ... FAST!
Let’s look at the numbers to bring this idea further to life
Now I’m not just talking about ‘referral capture’ here on an ad hoc basis – I’m talking about a Systematised Referral Process where you go back to the ‘well’ on a regular basis and have a structured process.
Let’s look at the numbers for a moment, using a generic company we’ll call ABC Limited or as I prefer to say ‘UnLimited’ – the only limiting factor being our mindset about what we can and can’t achieve in our businesses.
Imagine ABC UnLimited has 500 Customers. Taking the 80/20 rule – the top 20% are the ‘ideal profile’ of customer. So we focus on the top 100 Customers as our Sales force to start with.
On average, if we pick up just one referral from each of those customers (I say on average because some might give you 1, some might give you 0 and some might give you 2 or 3 plus), that would give us 100 prospects.
Now I don’t know what your conversion rates are in your business. What I do know however, and I’m sure you’d agree is that referral business converts at a higher rate than any other form of lead generation activity.
So, for this example, I’m going to work on a conversion of 1:5, just 20%. I’d probably expect it to be more like 1:2, but using 1:5 for this example, that equates to 20 new customers from your new sales force.
Now if we systemised the process and went back to the well on a quarterly basis, this would generate 400 new prospects. At our conversion rate of only 1: 5, that is 80 new customers per year! How much would this be worth to your business?
And a couple of other critical points here: we’re only talking about referrals from the top 100 customers in the business. We’ve not allowed for any from the other 400 customers or for any additional referrals from the referrals or new customers you’ve just acquired!
I call this the domino effect... once you start the referral process it’s amazing and exciting how the referrals just keep flowing in.
It’s all about becoming ‘referral conscious’ and making it part of your every day business habits.
I’m sure you could run your real numbers in terms of the number of customers and conversion rates through the formula I’ve used above and calculate precisely what impact this strategy would have on the growth of your business?
In terms of asking for referrals there are multiple proven strategies you can adopt - talking through these would be an entire article in itself. However, become really curious about how other businesses and organisations are leveraging this strategy in their business; referral cards with invoices or promotional campaigns (look at gym companies in January!), refer a friend incentive campaigns (wine clubs do this really well), carefully worded message on the bottom of your email and part of service and account management meetings with clients.
So there you have it! How to create a torrent of Low Cost/ No Cost Leads through the front door of your business and turn your customers into your Sales Force!
By Royston Guest, author of Built to Grow, a blue print to help entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals understand the guiding principles of accelerated, sustained and profitable business. Built to Grow is available to buy from Amazon.