Getting to the Front of the Line: Referrals and the Buyers Journey

I don't know about you, but, I am not a big fan of waiting in line...especially when it comes to sales production!

Unless you have been living in a cave you know that the buying process for your customers, whether you are a B2C (business to consumer) or a B2B (business to business) salesperson has changed dramatically over the last decade.  Research shows, in B2B specifically, that the prospective customer is between 53-70% of the way down the buying process before they will engage with a salesperson.  If you don't believe that...stop reading and good luck.

What does that mean?  If you aren't involved in helping your prospects decide what, if and when to buy before they decide to call you...you are going to lose to those salespeople and sales organizations that have adjusted their Sales Process to the customer Buying Journey.  

My first real 'outside' (hunter) sales job was as a copier rep for a locally owned copier dealership in Manassas, VA named TML Copiers and Business Machines.  Tom Lensis and Mike Hoover, the two owners, gave me my start in B2B sales and the rest is history.  

Back then, pre-internet, the only way the prospect could educate themselves about my products, services and my company was to engage with me.  Like it or not...I was near the front of the buying process.

That is NOT the case today.  For almost any type of product or service you can imagine there is an overwhelming amount of information digitally available to your prospects without them ever having to contact your or your company.  Additionally, they have the ability to leverage their social networks to get peer recommendations and reviews about not only the process of buying your stuff...but whether or not to include you as a prospective vendor.

Don't get all weepy on me here.  Just because things have changed doesn't mean that salespeople are about to become extinct...only the bad ones will.  You have to change to stay competitive and to grow.  Their is some amazing news though:  Old School still beats New School...if you have a plan and work smart and hard.

Referrals jump you to the front of the line!  Social Selling, Social Media, Marketing, Direct Mail, Cold Calling, etc. are all effective and I support all of them, but nothing beats a solid referral introduction when it comes to getting in front of a prospect.  Do you want to rapidly and sustainably increase your Sales Funnel volume and effectiveness?  Learn how to do Referrals in a comprehensive and strategic way and you absolutely can (yes you can predict them!).

Is your organization looking and/or stuck on executing the required transition to digitally aware and integrated sales methods?  Referrals (in a structured and measurable plan) are your buffer on productivity and the extra profit you need to pursue the training and marketing investment necessary to complete the transition most effectively.

Here is the deal.  If you really understand how digital media/technology is changing buyer behavior...how have you changed your individual and business Sales Process to match it?  Stay tuned for more posts on making sure your 2017 results by referral are predictable and profitable!

Mike