In B2B sales, both traditionally and in the new Social Selling environment, developing and nurturing relationships is the key to business success. By definition, relationships are a 2-way street, and I believe to gain trust, we should give first. By providing educational content, relevant insights, business connections or any other resource that matters to them, we become a valued member of their network and a true business relationship is formed. Just like everything else in business, it is very helpful to have a plan of action. If you would like to develop strong referral relationships here is a great place to start:
1. Begin by identifying the types of referral partners that you would like to engage and nurture. Here is a few to consider:
- The co-worker – without a doubt the most underutilized resource. Even the non-selling professionals in your company wants you to succeed, when you are successful, the business grows and they have job security.
- The networking crowd – These are your chamber meeting connections, the folks you meet at card exchanges, meetups, and networking events. Although they may not be completely aligned with your business, you both have networks that can benefit one another.
- Your clients – you may say this is a no-brainer, but if you really begin to focus on asking your clients for targeted introductions, you will quickly see your qualified appointments grow.
- Your clients’ vendors and strategic alliances – this is one of my favorites, why? If they are selling into your client, they are probably selling into other similar companies as are you. You can truly provide great value to each other, so take some time to build these relationships.
Example: If you are a payroll sales professional try some of these questions:
“Mrs. Client, may I ask who your CPA is?
Do you like working with him?
I do like meeting great CPAs so that if my other clients should ask, I can make some referrals, would it be okay if I reach out to him, introduce myself and mention that we share you as a client?”
2. Determine what matters to each of these networking partners. Certainly what matters to your co-worker is very different than a strategic alliance. You need to know what value you offer each of them before you ask for a favor. If you don’t know, ask them.
3. Identify who they know that you would like to meet and when appropriate ask for introductions. And here is how:
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
- Click on their connections number (500+) to go to their connections
- Click the magnify glass on the top right of the section
- Enter the keywords or title of the people you would like to meet
- Click advanced in the top left of the section
- Use the left hand side filters to drill down
- Make a list of who your referral partner knows that you would like to meet
- Ask them “I noticed you were connected to a few people that would make great introductions for me, would you mind if I ran their names by you?”
Once you have reviewed the names with them, ask if they would be open to making an introduction and could they copy you both in an email with a brief note, and you can take it from there. Once you receive the introduction, reply all and schedule a meeting.
Ask that they copy you both in an LinkedIn message or email introduction and offer them a message that they are welcome to use to make it simple:
I would like to introduce you to Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link. I thought it might make sense for the two of you to connect and investigate how you might work together. Brynne helps sales professionals build their pipeline, reduce the sales cycle and close more business through leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Brynne’s LinkedIn programs have made a significant impact on the way her professionals are growing their business. Brynne will be contacting you in the next couple of days, please take her call; I believe it will be well worth your time.
If you would like to reach out to Brynne, her contact information is:Brynne.Tillman@SocialSalesLink.com |888.775.5262http://www.linkedin.com/in/brynnetillman
When you receive the introduction:
XXX, thank you for the introduction.
XXX, I am looking forward to talking with you, I have some time Monday morning and Thursday afternoon for a call, what works best for you?
Building referral relationships has always been key to growing business, relationships really do matter. CLICK HERE to schedule an exploratory call regarding Real-Time Networking and LinkedIn coaching.