Sales lead referral network is a motivated group of people keen on providing you pre-qualified leads. This sales lead referral network is a combination of existing customers and people who know, like, and trust you.
The know, like, and trust you group of people are more than customers. They include salespeople in other industries or services, friends, family, and people you associate with on a regular basis. And yes, they include people you already sold.
People you associate with would be members of a club or association you belong to. Or perhaps an organization you volunteer with. Plus, networking groups and people who follow you on your webpage or email list.
If you are involved in commission sales, business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C), active participation in a networking group is a must.
Developing and nurturing a sales lead referral network requires time.
This time investment is focused on keeping your network motivated and you top-of-mind.
A question usually asked is “How often are follow ups to my sales lead referral network contacts made?”
In my experience, best results are achieved when each referral contact receives a touch at least every 4-months.
Every 4-months may sound like a lot of contacts. But when you referral network is active, contacts happen simply by discussions about leads.
However, occasionally this leads to two other questions.
“Wouldn’t they get upset being hit on every 4-months?” And, “This sounds like a lot of work?”
When people you have a relationship with see the merit in what you are inviting them to do, and when the follow up touches are brief, you will receive few negative comments.
Plus, in your initial ask, you make it clear that the contact can opt-out at any time. No hassle. No hard feelings.
More importantly, each personal touch is just that, personal. You are not selling. You are not telling. You are asking.
You would ask in the same way a friend would suggest you might like a movie she watched, or a club member might invite you to an event, or how a customer would ask for support for a charity he is involved with.
In each of these examples, there is casual follow up. Your friend checks in to see if you watched the movie. The club member follows up on arrangements for the event you were invited to. Your customer reaches out to say thank you for the donation.
The only difference is that you will have a structured process for keeping your name top-of-mind at least every 4-months.
True, there is an ongoing time commitment. The heavy work, however, is at the front-end.
When you have your sales lead referral network follow up process in place, done properly, you can set it on autopilot.
Of the many ways in which to stay connected and motivate your sales referral network, the only stringent requirement is that you have a chat with your potential referral network member first. This can be done in person or by phone. Sales professionals recognize that ongoing relevant business follow up is permission based.
A sales lead referral network provides you a flow of pre-qualified leads.
Participation is on an invitation basis. This does not mean you would not accept a sales referral lead from others.
There is a time investment. Most of it is at the beginning setting up your 4-month follow up cycle.
The only must do is start with a personal chat to get permission. You can do this by telephone or face-to-face.
Follow-ups are social. They are casual. They are not a sales pitch. Their sole purpose is to stay connected, keep you top of mind, and strengthen the relationship.