By Dick Wooden on June 21, 2011 at 8:30 AM
You just got a referral. A strategic partner just sent one of his clients your way. Yippee! You’ve got it made, right? New customer, for sure, right? Wrong.
Prospects referred to you by a strategic partner are very special leads. The referral has given you a head start on establishing trust in you.
But that doesn’t mean you can skip right over the first two parts of the “know, like, trust” progression that leads to a sale. It’s still your job to teach them how your product or service can solve their problems, and it’s still your job to ensure that every experience they have with your business makes them feel valued. If you don’t, they’re not going to buy from you.
By all means recognize the person who made the referral when you talk to the person referred. You can’t just call, though, and say, “Joe tells me you need my services. Let me know when you’re ready to come see me.”
A referral gives you a golden opportunity, but good follow up is still crucial. Do you have routines in place to educate and nurture these special leads, and does your entire staff know these routines?
Put technology to work here.
If you look in the center of the Circle of Success, you’ll notice both CRM and communications. Get that referral entered in your CRM software pronto and then use it to set up a progression of communications with her. This is often called drip marketing. We prefer to call it nurture marketing to help stay "top of mind". (No one likes a drip!)
Swiftpage is an email tool that integrates with ACT! or SalesLogix CRM to carry out these nurture communications. You can set up several templates and then schedule in advance to send emails with information to one or many prospects interested in the same thing. Then Swiftpage allows you to track their responses—what they open, where they click through—so you can gauge their interests.
Another way to show a referred prospect that they are special is to offer them some of your inbound marketing content. Can you provide an online demo at their convenience? Or invite them to a video conference.
And by all means, don’t neglect the handwritten note. Nothing can replace that personal touch. Send one to the person referred to you as well as the person making the referral.
What you’re doing is layering on the connecting actions in the Circles of Success. Turn your referred prospects into customers by helping them to know you and like you. They started with a taste of secondhand trust. Make it firsthand, and you’ll both be successful.
How are you layering on connecting actions in your business development?