• Gert Scholts

What is the most effective way to find new customers?


This sales tip is about getting referrals and recommendations.

In most sales departments there are 3 distinct functions:

  • Signing up new customers,

  • Developing existing customer relationships and

  • Retaining existing customers.

Finding new customers often means hours of prospecting on social media, long trade shows, daily cold calling, asking for referrals and knocking doors on business estates.

The good news is that all of the methods work! Here are my personal stats supporting this:

  • 100 cold calls produced 10 decent conversations and 1.5 sales

  • 21 doors knocked produced 1 sale

  • A steady 15 potential deals in my pipeline delivered signing 62% of all key UK prospects for a re seller initiative

  • My referral sourced prospects conversion rate to sale: 76%

Referrals are the way to go

My first boss showed why referrals are the most effective way to find new customers. In my case getting just 2 referrals equated to making 100 cold calls as far as the result was concerned. An easy choice......I was sold!

He also explained how getting referrals is made easy.

  1. Be pro-active and ask for them.

  2. Ask for referrals when you know your customer is emotionally and rationally very satisfied with your product/promise.

  3. Ask a specific question like; 'Who do you know in your circle who would be happy to have a similar conversation about time and cost saving?'

  4. Aim for getting names and contact detail there and then.

Marketing can also help the company to gain referrals on an epic level. The quality might not be the same as above yet the number of referrals generated will outweigh this.

Here are a 5 tips for this

  1. Make it personal and customise the referral request process. Your customer is putting their personal reputation on the line.

  2. Let your customers know about your other products and services. They are most likely not aware.

  3. Make it as easy as possible for customers to give a referral. It should take no time at all.

  4. Reward your customers for referrals both intrinsically and extrinsically. Most of us feel good about helping others.

  5. Let your customers know how you progressed a referral they gave you. They are likely giving you more names later.

If you want to learn more about how I could help your sales team gain more referrals, feel free to mail me.

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