Let’s start with a fact: Not all leads are created equal!
Too many business owners take an approach that suggests reaching the most prospects (usually through email or telemarketing) will bring in the most sales. Somehow, that strategy doesn’t seem like it will be either effective or efficient, in most cases.
In early 1989, I joined the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, during my days operating Designer Music. My major involvement, over several years, was participating in lead exchange groups (Business Alliance), run by the highly creative and very competent team of Irv Spivak. Irv, and his co-chair, Suzanne Tucker. The group met twice monthly, at the ghastly early hour of 7:30am.
The networking skills I learned during several years in Business Alliance were critical to the success of my business. One major point that Irv hammered home, was the definition of a qualified lead. He explained that giving another person a name and a number is NOT a sizzling hot lead.
He made it clear to the thirty of us, in the room, that the goal was to learn enough about the businesses in our group that we were an extended sales force for each other member. We should be able to ask enough questions of one of our contacts to connect them, clearly, with one of our fellow Business Alliance members.
The converse is even more important. In order to receive sizzling hot, qualified leads, it’s important to give them. It is your currency for reciprocation. When people see you are serious about improving their sales, there is a natural tendency to respond, in kind.
I would suggest that in lean times, one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal is focused networking, giving qualified leads to wedding industry businesses. There is no sale that closes more easily, and is less price sensitive, than a qualified referral.
Ask yourself this: What people/businesses do you have relationships with, that you should be connecting with on a much more frequent basis?
Come up with a half-dozen answers to the question, and go get reacquainted. Make sure you listen, and find out how you can be a stronger ‘referrer of business.’
Be in touch. Stay in touch. Make qualified referrals. Get qualified referrals.
How tough is that? Irv & Suzanne would be pleased.
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