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  • Category Archives Referrals
  • 3 Natural By-Products of Staying in Touch with Your Customers  

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    The most inexpensive way for you to get more business is to sell to existing clients.

    Existing clients are more likely to give you referrals to more potential leads. And it’s easier to up-sell an existing client when you do it for the right reasons and at the right time. In fact, studies have shown that it takes three times more money and effort to find new prospects as it does to just keep the ones you have. We’re going to share with you three reasons why following-up with clients is crucial and essential to the success of selling.

    Show Gratitude:

    • It’s important to follow-up just to say, “Thank you.” It’s amazing how those two little words can incredibly change the trajectory of your client relationship. When your customers know that you are appreciative and grateful for their business, it creates loyalty.
    • Whether you do it with a handwritten card, a gift, a phone call, or an email, just make sure that you are authentic and consistent when saying thank you. Never underestimate the power of the written word or hearing something on a regular basis.

    Minimize Buyer’s Remorse

    • Make sure that you follow-up quickly because the quicker you follow-up, the less likely someone is to change their mind.
    • You want to do it immediately upfront. You want to create that sense of urgency as if to say, “I am here for you and you made a good choice.”
    • Stay constant in your follow-up so that you can help address challenges before they ever become problems. If you follow-up on a regular basis and you find out things aren’t working, whether their prices increased, their policy changed or taxes are going to be higher on something, whatever it is, if you catch it, you’re just doing them a service. But if they catch it, it’s a problem.

    Gain Word of Mouth Advertising

    • Having a good relationship with your customers isn’t just good for business; it also increases the amount of positive word of mouth. With the over-abundance of social media sites, there’s too much opportunity to spread bad news.
    • You have to make sure they are sharing good news. Unfortunately, most people are seven times more likely to share bad news than they are good news. If you follow-up consistently, you can build word of mouth prospects and generate word of mouth advertising.

    Now that you know why it’s important to follow up, you have all the more reason to begin doing it!

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow Up


  • How To Get 200 Referrals

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    How exciting that you are starting your new sales career! Are you ready to have amazing results as fast as possible? GREAT!

    Stop right now and list out 100 people who you know…

    WAIT A MINUTE!!!

    Are you like most new sales people in that you have already been trying to sell to most of the people you know when you were at other companies and/or you are worried that by calling your personal contacts that if you try to sell to them, that they may start to avoid you? If so, then you are very NORMAL!

    Would you like to learn how to make sure this will never happen to YOU?

    –> Click here to continue reading.


  • The LinkedIn Referral Technique

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Using LinkedIn to Gain Referrals
    Using LinkedIn to Gain Referrals

    Where do you rank in your level of expertise at asking for, expecting and getting referrals?

    Are you an expert?  Are you honestly getting five referrals every time you meet with somebody?

    Are you a novice?  Do you rarely get referrals?  Is your idea of getting referrals that you do a good job and impress people and ask them to pass your name?  (Or perhaps you’re a really bold novice and you give them a couple extra business cards and ask them to hand them out!)

    If you practice those strategies, you need to realize that you’re doing what amateurs do.  We want to be pros!  We want to be the best!  If you want to be the best, you have to ask for, expect and get referrals on the spot.

    When you’re meeting with people–especially your biggest fans, your customers, the people who like you and know you’re doing a good job–there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get referrals.

    –> Click here to continue reading…

     


  • Featured ImageLinkedIn Cheat Sheet

    We really liked this straightforward infographic outlining the power of LinkedIn for business networking and marketing.  Unlike Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn was originally created for business – incorporating the powerful elements of social media with traditional business tools.  If you are not currently using LinkedIn, this outline created by Mindflash.com has some great information for both the novice and veteran.


  • Getting Your Prospect’s Attention Over the Phone

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific

                – Measurable

                – Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

                –  Generalized

                – “Companies in your city…”

                 – “Other groups in your industry…”

                   – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

     – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.

     

    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)     

    “Last week…”

    “Recently…”

    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:

    Voicemail

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

     Ron Marks


  • GET OFF TO A FAST START IN 2011

     

    The most successful salespeople I know get off to a fast start in the New Year.  They realize that if they start the year over plan they can build on their success throughout the year.  Otherwise you spend most of your year just trying to catch up.  Here is a recap of the 5 ways to have a fast start:

    1. Renew and Up-Sell Existing Clients:  We need to treat last year’s production as a foundation for this year’s revenue!  Ask yourself this question; who could be using more of your services? Start there. Step 1, make an active account list and identify where additional business lies. If you can identify additional services they should be doing label those on your sheet.  Step 2, schedule Re-Focus Meetings with each of these accounts so you can stay aware of potential business opportunities and get referrals!
    2. Regain Former Clients:  Identify five to ten former customers that haven’t used your services in the last 3-5 years.  Send a ‘New Year’s message’ email just touching base, updating them, re-providing them with your contact information and offering them a ‘review meeting’ to go over their current financial situation.
    3. Ask for (and receive) Referrals on a Regular Basis from active clients:  It’s important to set the stage for referrals with all of your customers.  One good way to do that is to teach your customers how to give referrals by giving them a referral.  Identify five good customers that haven’t given you a referral in the past and if possible start the referral process by giving them a referral. The 2nd thing you should do is send them a ‘New Year’s message’ email following the former client email but instead of offering a ‘review meeting’ you will be asking for referrals! The goal is to get a 5% referral return rate.
    4. Target Specific Companies/Industries for New Business Development: Profile what your “best” customer looks like and create a prospect “Hit List”. You have already done this do you are ahead of the game here!
    5. Generate Additional Referral Resources:  In order to outsmart your competition you need to create yourself a niche market within a set group of 6-10 repeat referral partners.  One way to stick out among other financial advisors is to highlight what it is that you do that your competition doesn’t do, can’t do or won’t do in this market place. The goal would be to get 1 solid referral/month from each referral partner.  The target is on accounting firms and bonding firms.

     

    Here is the text I generally use for obtaining referrals via email. Feel free to use and edit this as you see fit.

     

    Hi ______,

    First of all, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are having a great start to 2011! I am looking forward to getting this year underway which is actually why I am emailing you today. I just wanted to give you a quick update on some new things that I will be doing in my business this year that you may or may not be aware of.     (list 1-2 things that you are doing this year … i.e.; seminar classes, newsletters, etc…)

     

    Sample verbiage:

    In 2011 I will be proactively holding educational seminar classes for my clients on a variety of topics including; ___,___,___. I will be conducting private classes for organizations, as well as be participating in hosting public seminars available to all of my clients free of charge. I will also be incorporating a quarterly newsletter for my clients to keep you updated on market trends, industry facts, new products and services and all company updates. Lastly, I would like to invite you to join my professional network on LinkedIn so that we may continue to keep in touch on a regular basis.

     

    I look forward to speaking with you soon as I will be following up via telephone in the next several weeks to go over a review of your account. Please feel free to contact me in the meantime if you have any questions.

     

    Lastly, I was actually hoping to ask a favor of you. As you know, your business is very important to me and I look forward to continuing our business relationship for years to come. I was curious to know if you knew of anyone who is currently looking to ___,____ or ____. Or perhaps you know someone who is just looking to switch advisors and needs a good recommendation. Whatever the case may be I wanted to ask the favor of you to please let me know if you know of someone who may be looking to work with or simply talk to a financial advisor. If so, I would love the opportunity to meet them to see if I could be of assistance.  Thank you in advance for these efforts.

     

    Wishing you continued success in 2011!

     

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns

    Corporate Partner and Program Director

    Southwestern Consulting

    ajohns@southwesternconsulting.com

    Corporate website: http://www.southwesternconsulting.com

    Join my professional network on LinkedIn

    Like my Facebook Fanpage


  • Connect with Clients Before End of Year

    This is a time of year when some sales professionals think that everyone is too busy for meetings, that no one will buy and they tend to slack off a bit. Don’t be that sales professional! Now is a great time to reach out to all of your ‘ideal clients’.

    Action Items:

    1. Make a list of all your ‘ideal clients’ (good clients)
      1. Call every single one and do a customer service call

                                    i.     Wish them happy holiday.

                                   ii.     Thank them for their business.

                                  iii.     Ask them how the service has been. Get feedback.

                                   iv.     Offer them your direct line/ extension or email.

                                     v.     Ask for referrals!

    1. Goal:  call 50 clients and get 15 referrals

    So, before taking off time for the Holidays, complete these action items and you will be setting yourself up for a fabulous 2011. 

    Have a fabulous Christmas!

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns

    Corporate Partner and Program Director

    Southwestern ConsultingTM


  • Referrals: A Key to Your Success

    Referrals are not an option!

     

    When you have less time, you need referrals.

    When you need more sales, you need referrals.

    When you are on a deadline, you need referrals.

    In other words, referrals should be the lifeline of your business!

     

    Here is a referral gathering gameplan:

    1.      Ask every time – no matter what

    2.      Treat getting referrals like getting sales

    3.      Don’t stop until you get at least 1 referral from every buyer

    4.      Use the following script: At the very end of your presentation: Do you mind if I ask you a question? What made you decide to go ahead and move forward with this today?  

    (let them talk)

    That’s great. I am really glad to hear that! You know, before I leave, I was going to ask a quick favor of you. I have found that there are really 3 groups of people that I tend to work best with and quite honestly, these people are the ones I can help most often, so I was curious do you know anyone who recently got married, had a new baby or started a new family?  (customize for your industry.   After receiving referrals find out one piece of unique information about them:

    Simply ask: Can you tell me one interesting piece of information about ___ that most people don’t know?

     

    This is your key to getting referrals … now, just put it to use and go kick some referral butt!

     

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns

    Corporate Partner and Program Director

    Southwestern Consulting