Are you making the most of the leads you have?
“I need more referrals” is an oft heard cry of the self-employed professional. What if I said that simply getting more leads isn’t the place to focus?
Making the most of the prospective clients you already have is more effective than blindly seeking new leads. In fact, you may be overlooking great opportunities by focusing solely on new leads.
Henry Canaday, in his article “Leads: Lifeblood of Sales” (Selling Power Magazine) posed an interesting set of questions designed to help clarify the real problem as he points out that simply getting more leads may not automatically lead to more sales (or more new clients).
In his questions below, I have changed the word “leads” to “referrals” but the questions remain the same:
Do you need:
- More referrals?
- Better referrals?
- Better information on the referrals you already have?
- Or help in nurturing referrals into clients?
Each of his questions actually addresses a different aspect of turning referrals into new clients. When it comes to referrals, whether it’s volume, quality, information or your skills, take the steps to identify the real issue and then develop your plan for addressing it.
Here’s how to turn more of of the leads you already have into new clients…
When You Need More Referrals
If it really is more referrals that you need, developing referral sources is where you start. That includes developing new ones as well as improving your relationship with current referral sources. Ignoring them until you need more business is never a good idea.
When You Need Better Referrals
If it’s quality referrals that you are after, perhaps the real problem is that you have not yet mastered the art of conveying a description of your target market or your services in such a way that others can easily understand and pass along.
When You Need More Information on Referrals You Already Have
Getting more information from the referrals that you already have (so you can make the right recommendations for services and recommend it in a way that resonates with the person) lies within the questions you ask. First get clear on what information you need, then probe a little deeper and expand what you cover when talking with prospective clients. The information is there when you know what to ask. Without it, you risk bumbling the conversation by recommending the wrong thing or offering it in a way that misses the mark with that person.
When You Need To Nurture Relationships
It’s up to you to guide the relationship with those referred to you from one of potential client to new client. Honing your skills in nurturing relationships can be accomplished through study, mentoring and practice. Consider whether or not you are rushing in with your sales pitch too soon, before the potential client understands your service and its value – or has a feeling of liking and trust for you.
As you can see, simply having more referrals may not solve your problem. You need skills in turning leads into clients. Use these questions as a starting point to identify the real issue. Then you are on your way to effectively and successfully working with referrals. When you do that, your referral sources get good feedback and they are happy to send more referrals your way.